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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2017 Apr 10. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.204202. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of intravenous pulse dexamethasone versus daily oral prednisolone on bone mineral density in dermatology patients: Is it a site-specific response?

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.
2
Department of Radiodiagnosis, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The use of glucocorticoids in various forms of administration is complicated by their systemic side effects. Although intravenous pulse therapy is considered to have lesser systemic side effects, there are few studies in literature comparing the effects of intravenous pulse glucocorticoids versus oral daily glucocorticoids on bone mineral density.

AIM:

To compare the effects of intravenous pulse glucocorticoids and oral daily glucocorticoids on bone mineral density with the aim of finding any site-specific osteopenic side effect.

METHODS:

The study was conducted by the department of dermatology of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. The study comprised of two groups of patients. Group A consisted of 28Â patients with pemphigus vulgaris who received intravenous pulses of dexamethasone at 4Â weekly intervals. Group B consisted of 21Â patients with airborne contact dermatitis who received oral daily prednisolone therapy. All the patients had a dual X-ray absorptiometry scan at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months of follow-up. The results were analyzed as changes in bone mineral density.

RESULTS:

There was loss of bone mineral density at lumbar spine and the head of radius in both the groups. At the lumbar spine, Group B showed more reduction in bone mineral density at 3 months whereas in Group A it was more at the head of radius. In patients on oral steroids, the lumbar spine was significantly more affected than the head of radius at both 3 and 6 months of follow-up. However, in patients on intravenous pulse steroids, both the sites were equally affected at 3 and 6 months.

LIMITATIONS:

In our study, we used different glucocorticoids in the two groups: prednisolone in the oral daily group and dexamethasone in the intravenous pulse steroids group. A similar reduction in bone mineral density in both the groups may have been due to a longer half-life or more bone-directed side effects of dexamethasone as compared to prednisolone.

CONCLUSION:

Dermatologists need to be aware of the detrimental effects of high-dose intravenous pulsed glucocorticoids on bone mineral density and assessment of this parameter should be done before the initiation of therapy and also at regular intervals thereafter. During follow up, either the lumbar spine or the head of radius can be used to assess the osteopenic effect of intravenous pulse steroids, whereas the lumbar spine is a better site for this evaluation in patients on oral steroids.

PMID:
28397714
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