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Br J Dermatol. 1997 Feb;136(2):172-5.

Bone mineral density in patients with atopic dermatitis.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


With the aim of evaluating the systemic effect of glucocorticoids (GCs), we measured bone mineral density (BMD) in 29 adult patients with chronic atopic dermatitis. BMD was measured in the lumbar spine and in the left femoral neck using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). In the right calcaneus, BMD was measured using broad-spectrum ultrasound attenuation (BUA). For BMD, the patients with dermatitis did not differ from healthy controls. We did not find any statistically significant correlation between BMD and single risk factors, such as the barrier function of the skin (P = 0.08), the duration of the dermatitis (P = 0.58), and the use of oral GCs (P = 0.27) and potent topical GCs (P = 0.10). However, selected patients with severe disease, needing topical GCs of higher potency than hydrocortisone (HC), had lower values for lumbar BMD than the patients who had not used these preparations (-1.0 vs. +0.1 SD; P = 0.026). The lower lumbar BMD in this group could be explained by a long-term systemic effect of GCs.

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