Old bones vulnerable to long-term use of oral corticosteroidsApril 20 2017
A review of data by University of South Australia researchers has found many older people taking oral corticosteroids long-term are not having the recommended bone density tests or fracture prevention therapy, leaving them at much greater risk of fractures.
Published this week in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR), the review recommends a more thorough approach to managing the use of oral corticosteroids.
Commonly prescribed to treat chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, when prescribed for prolonged periods, oral corticosteroids are associated with a high incidence of bone loss, muscle atrophy and weakness.
A member of UniSA’s research team from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Dr Kerrie Westaway says the review of Department of Veterans’ Affairs data highlights that pharmacists, doctors and patients need to be working together to better manage chronic conditions.
“We know how effective corticosteroids are, but our review shows that older people taking these medications orally and long-term should be having their regular bone density tests – and they just aren’t all doing that,” Dr Westaway says.
“Working together, we need to ensure that health plans are in place, and regular calcium and vitamin D supplements, light exercise and fracture prevention therapies are considered.
“Unfortunately, data from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs suggests that many older Australians, who are long-term users of oral corticosteroids, are not getting bone density tests or medicines to prevent osteoporosis.
“It is vital that we encourage people to have the regular tests but also for those who are taking oral corticosteroids for longer periods, it’s important that they understand the adverse effects of their medications so that they can discuss it with their doctor or pharmacist and ensure strategies are in place to protect their bones.
“It is also an important reminder to healthcare professionals to monitor their patients while they are taking oral corticosteroids long-term at prednisolone-equivalent doses greater than 5mg per day.”
Media contact: Michèle Nardelli mobile 0418 823 673 email email@example.com
Areas of study and research
- Health Research
- Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA)
- Centre for Cancer Biology
- Centre for Drug Discovery and Development
- Centre for Population Health Research
- Centre of Research Excellence for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote High Risk Populations
- International Centre for Allied Health Evidence
- Medicine and Device Surveillance CRE
- Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre
and Social Sciences
- Art, Architecture and Design
- Communication, International Studies and Languages
- Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy
- Hawke Research Institute
- Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety
- Australian Centre for Child Protection
- Barbara Hardy Institute
- Centre for Research in Education
- Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence
- Centre for Islamic Thought and Education
- International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding
- Research Centre for Languages and Cultures
- Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b)
IT, Engineering and
- Future Industries Institute
- UniSA College