Long-term glucocorticoid (GC) therapy is frequently indicated to treat autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases in daily clinical practice. Two of the most devastating untoward effects are bone loss and fractures. Doses as low as 2.5 mg of prednisone for more than 3 months can impair bone integrity. Population at risk is defined based on the dose and duration of GC therapy and should be stratified according to FRAX (Fracture Risk Assessment Tool), major osteoporotic fracture, prior fractures, and bone mineral density values (BMD). General measures include to prescribe the lowest dose of GC to control the underlying disease for the shortest possible time, maintain adequate vitamin D levels and calcium intake, maintain mobility, and prescribe a bone acting agent in patients at high risk of fracture. These agents include oral and intravenous bisphosphonates, denosumab, and teriparatide.
- Bone mineral density