Cochrane Summaries

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Calcium and vitamin D for treating osteoporosis caused by the use of steroids

Homik J, Suarez-Almazor ME, Shea B, Cranney A, Wells GA, Tugwell P
Published Online: 
7 July 2010

Corticosteroids are widely used to treat inflammation. Bone loss (osteoporosis) is a serious side effect of this therapy. We reviewed a total of 5 trials which included 742 patients. We found that after two years of treatment, the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and forearm of patients taking calcium and vitamin D therapy improved more than patients who had no treatment. There was no difference in the number of fractures or laboratory measures of bone density between the two groups. We found that calcium and vitamin D is effective at preventing and treating corticosteroid-induced bone loss at the lumbar spine and forearm. The treatment appears to be safe.