What protective measures should be taken for patients taking glucocorticoids who are at risk for osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Protective measures should be taken in patients who must take glucocorticoids for other medical conditions. These include using the minimum effective dose of glucocorticoid and discontinuing the drug as soon as possible. The American College of Rheumatology provides recommendations for the prevention and treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, which were updated in 2017. Recommendations include optimizing calcium and vitamin D supplementation, lifestyle modifications, and fracture risk stratification for all adults on long-term glucocorticoid treatment (≥2.5 mg/day prednisone for ≥3 months). [12]  Further recommendations regarding pharmacological therapy as dictated by fracture risk stratification for prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP) are discussed below in Prevention of Osteoporosis.  

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