Bone loss in adults receiving alternate day glucocorticoid therapy. A comparison with daily therapy

Arthritis Rheum. 1981 Jul;24(7):892-8. doi: 10.1002/art.1780240705.


Bone mineral content was measured by photon absorption densitometry in 25 patients with rheumatic diseases receiving glucocorticoids on an alternate day treatment schedule, and in 25 age-, sex-, and race-matched patients receiving daily steroid therapy. Mean values for cortical (diaphyseal) mass, trabecular (metaphyseal) mass, and the cortical/trabecular mass ratios were not different in the two groups. Steroid-induced osteopenia, defined as an elevated ratio of cortical to trabecular mass, occurred in both therapeutic regimens (8 of 25 on alternate day; 11 of 25 on daily). Therefore, bone loss was demonstrable in individuals on alternate day regimens. Serum levels of calcium, ionized calcium, alkaline phosphatase, and parathyroid hormone were similar in the two groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Bone Resorption / chemically induced*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteolysis, Essential / chemically induced*
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Whites


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisone