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Q. Can corticosteroids cause osteoporosis?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 06, 2017

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 few weeks. Please help. What do these results mean? Does it imply osteoporosis?  Please advice as to what I can do next. Should we eliminate causes other than corticosteroids?

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Corticosteroids can cause osteoporosis in a very short interval and four years is a long time. It would be difficult to 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.

For more information consult a rheumatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/rheumatologist


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