Calcium - Vitamin D Supplements Prevent Bone Loss from Cortisone Therapy

Richmond, Virginia & Burlington, Vermont - Cortisone-related medications, such as prednisone and prednisolone, are commonly used in the treatment of many illnesses. While these medicines can be very beneficial, they also have many potential side effects. One serious potential side effect is abnormal thinning of bone called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone density resulting in an increased risk of bone breakage (fracture).

In a two-year study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (1996;125:961-8), Dr. Lenore M. Buckley and associates evaluated patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were taking prednisone. The study results demonstrated a clear benefit of calcium and vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of bone loss in patients taking even low doses of prednisone.

This study is encouraging news for physicians and patients encountering illnesses which require cortisone-related medications. It suggests that preventative doses of calcium and vitamin D can substantially help minimize the risk of osteoporosis and its accompanying bone fractures.

The editors of MedicineNet recommend that patients who are taking long-term cortisone-related medications discuss the possibility of calcium and vitamin D supplementation with their doctors.

Last Editorial Review: 8/13/2002