Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis

Some of the views expressed in the following notes on newly approved products should be regarded as preliminary, as there may have been limited published data at the time of publication, and little experience in Australia of their safety or efficacy. However, the Editorial Executive Committee believes that comments made in good faith at an early stage may still be of value. Before new drugs are prescribed, the Committee believes it is important that more detailed information is obtained from the manufacturer's approved product information, a drug information centre or some other appropriate source.

When patients who are taking long-term corticosteroids are given risedronate, calcium and vitamin D, their bone density increases. Although they are statistically significant, these increases are small. After a year of treatment the mean increase, compared to placebo, was 2.4% in the femoral trochanter and 2.7%in the lumbar spine.

Risedronate has also been given to patients who had recently started corticosteroids. This prevented the bone loss seen in patients who were only given calcium supplements.