European Journal of Rheumatology
Original Article

Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis: Increased Awareness as a Management Strategy for Prevention of this Complication in Patients with Systemic Autoimmune Rheumatic Disease


Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke, VA, USA


Carilion Clinic, 3 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA, USA

Eur J Rheumatol 2023; 10: 97-100
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2023.22086
Read: 1029 Downloads: 589 Published: 24 August 2023

Background: It has been estimated that about 1% of the US population is treated with long-term glucocorticoids. High doses of glucocorticoids particularly those used by rheumatologists and oth- ers for systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease result in bone loss, causing glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and an increase in the risk of fractures. The increased risk is related to both the daily dose and the cumulative dose of the glucocorticoids. Despite the availability of effective preventative and treatment options, glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis is often not mitigated with the use of these preventive therapies. The risk of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis often also goes under- recognized, because it occurs in a different group of patients compared to age-related osteoporosis. As a result, glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis is not always treated until after fractures may have occurred. Our objective is to determine if a structured health-care provider’s educational interven- tion with intermittent educational updates would lead to improvement in the identification, evalu- ation, and prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosisin those patients at the highest risk of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

Methods: In this single-center, prospective study, patients over 40 years of age, receiving a total cumu- lative dose of glucocorticoids of >5 g or a single dose of >30 mg of prednisone or its equivalent was enrolled. All providers attended an academic Journal Club, where the current American College of Rheumatology guidelines regarding glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosiswas reviewed. All providers received monthly reminders during academic meetings within the department.

Results: There was a statistically significant improvement between pre- and post-educational data, with increasing use of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis preventive measures, which was sus- tained over the 12-month duration of the study.

Conclusion: This research shows the importance of provider education as a means of disseminating information and improving the quality of patient care.

Cite this article as: Bankole A, Greear EL. Glucocorticoid induced osteoporosis: Increased awareness as a management strategy for prevention of this complication in patients with systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease. Eur J Rheumatol. 2023;10(3):97-100.

EISSN 2148-4279