Bone safety of low-dose glucocorticoids in rheumatic diseases

Academic Article


  • Glucocorticoids are widely used internationally for the treatment of inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although the benefit of glucocorticoids in RA on both disease activity and severity are well known, there remain unanswered questions about the overall bone safety of chronic low-dose glucocorticoids in RA. Debate exists about the merits of glucocorticoids for bone health on the basis of their benefits in promoting activity and reducing proinflammatory cytokines. Overall current evidence supports the view that bone loss is a disease related both to RA and to glucocorticoid use independently. Calcium and vitamin D, along with prescription antiosteoporosis therapies, particularly bisphosphonates and teriparatide, play an important role in stabilizing bone mineral density and potentially lowering spinal fracture risk at the spine. International guidelines provide pathways for appropriate prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP). Despite the evidence and these guidelines, many patients do not receive adequate management to prevent GIOP. © 2014 New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Saag KG
  • Start Page

  • 55
  • End Page

  • 64
  • Volume

  • 1318
  • Issue

  • 1