Corticosteroid therapy should be paired with osteoporosis prevention

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 30, 2006

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In a small study, most patients who were receiving prolonged oral corticosteroids for chronic skin diseases were not receiving therapies to prevent osteoporosis that may be caused by the drug, according to a study in the January Archives of Dermatology.

Research has demonstrated that medications known as bisphosphonates can boost bone mineral density and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. While the American College of Rheumatology and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs have guidelines recommending their use with specific doses of glucocorticoids, no similar guidelines exist for dermatologists, said the researchers.

The researchers reviewed 35 patients with chronic skin conditions referred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Each was taking glucocorticoids for at least one month before referral. They found that 28 of the patients were not taking bisphosphonates at the time they were referred.

"Unless there is a specific contraindication, bisphosphonates should be prescribed concomitantly with the initiation of corticosteroid therapy in diseases for which long-term glucocorticoid use is anticipated as part of the standard of care," they concluded.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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