Short-term, high-dose glucocorticoid treatment does not contribute to reduced bone mineral density in patients with multiple sclerosis

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A. Olsson, D B Oturai, P S Sørensen, P S Oturai, A B Oturai

BACKGROUND: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are at increased risk of reduced bone mineral density (BMD). A contributing factor might be treatment with high-dose glucocorticoids (GCs).

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this paper is to assess bone mass in patients with MS and evaluate the importance of short-term, high-dose GC treatment and other risk factors that affect BMD in patients with MS.

METHODS: A total of 260 patients with MS received short-term high-dose GC treatment and had their BMD measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry. BMD was compared to a healthy age-matched reference population (Z-scores). Data regarding GCs, age, body mass index (BMI), serum 25(OH)D, disease duration and severity were collected retrospectively and analysed in a multiple linear regression analysis to evaluate the association between each risk factor and BMD.

RESULTS: Osteopenia was present in 38% and osteoporosis in 7% of the study population. Mean Z-score was significantly below zero, indicating a decreased BMD in our MS patients. Multiple linear regression analysis showed no significant association between GCs and BMD. In contrast, age, BMI and disease severity were independently associated with both lumbar and femoral BMD.

CONCLUSION: Reduced BMD was prevalent in patients with MS. GC treatment appears not to be the primary underlying cause of secondary osteoporosis in MS patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1557-65
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

ID: 162118418