Bone Mineral Density in Children Exposed to Chronic Glucocorticoid Therapy

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the impact of glucocorticoid exposure on lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) in children while concurrently measuring their calcium intake, serum 25-OH vitamin D levels, and physical activity. Forty-three patients (4–18 years) with renal glomerular diseases, dermato-myositis, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, post—solid organ transplant, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy were studied. All received at least 5 mg per day of prednisone for more than 6 months. The mean BMD z score was 0 ± 0.2 (range, −3.8 to +3.3) with 2 patients (5%) having z scores less than −2. The mean daily calcium intake was 1147 ± 145 g, with 1 patient having hypovitaminosis D (<15 ng/mL). The mean physical activity level was 7.8 ± 0.8 h/wk. The small reductions in BMD observed in our population suggest that screening is likely not warranted in all children with chronic glucocorticoid exposure.

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