Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Aug;63(8):940-4.

Bone loss in patients treated with pulses of methylprednisolone is not negligible: a short term prospective observational study.

Author information

Department of Rheumatology, University of Leeds, UK.



To examine the influence of intravenous pulsed methylprednisolone (MP) on bone mass.


38 patients (30 women) with various rheumatic disorders requiring intravenous MP pulse treatment were examined at baseline and after 6 months with dual energy x ray absorptiometry (DXA), measuring hip and lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD). Demographic and clinical data were collected.


Demographics showed: mean (SD) age 48.4 (16.3) years, body mass index 24.9 (5.1) kg/m(2), and median (range) disease duration 3.2 (0.1-40.0) years. During follow up patients received a mean cumulative MP dose of 3.0 (1.6) g given as 5.7 (2.0) pulses over a median period of 5.7 (2.3-33.7) months. 34/38 (89%) patients were also pulsed with cyclophosphamide, 20 (53%) were taking oral corticosteroids, and 8 (21%) were using either bisphosphonates or oestrogen. At the end of the study mean BMD was reduced by -2.2% at the femoral neck, -1.1% at the total hip, and -1.0% at the spine L2-4. In subgroups BMD increased in patients treated with bisphosphonates or oestrogen (femoral neck +1.6%, total hip +3.2%, spine L2-4 +4.5%), whereas BMD decreased at all sites in patients not treated with antirersorptive treatment, both for users (femoral neck -4.4%, total hip -2.4%, spine L2-4 -2.1%) and non-users of concomitant oral prednisolone (femoral neck -1.7%, total hip -1.9%, spine L2-4 -2.6%).


Treatment with intravenous pulses of MP leads to a high rate of bone loss. Prevention of bone loss in these patients with bisphosphonates and oestrogens should be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center