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HomeAnswersRheumatologyosteoporosisDoes taking steroids for my polymyositis cause osteoporosis?

Can corticosteroids cause osteoporosis?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

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Published At October 6, 2017
Reviewed AtOctober 16, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am a 43-year-old male. I had been diagnosed with autoimmune polymyositis four years ago. I was previously a sportsman for most of my life with a reasonably healthy diet. I have been on Prednisolone and Azathioprine for four years, on Methotrexate for four years, and Folic acid. I just had a DXA bone scan with a Z-score of -3.4 in the spine, and -1.7 in the hip. I know corticosteroids can contribute to reducing BMD, but is this extent normal in less than four years? My rheumatologist is away for a few weeks. Please help. What do these results mean? Does it imply osteoporosis? Please advise as to what I can do next. Should we eliminate causes other than corticosteroids?


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Corticosteroid can cause osteoporosis in a very short interval and four years is a long time. It would be difficult for you to withdraw from corticosteroids as you have been on them for four years. So what can be done is to add up a good quantity of calcium and vitamin D in your daily regimen of medicines. I would recommend you take Ibandronic acid tablets once a month for osteoporosis. I hope this helps. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Anshul Varshney
Dr. Anshul Varshney

Internal Medicine

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