Steroids, mobility and osteoporosis
The benefits of steroid therapy outweigh its detrimental effect on bone metabolism
Last updated: 18th June 2015
Osteoporosis is one of the main causes of bone fractures in elderly people. However, it has been reported that the prevalence of osteoporosis is high in people with MS compared to the general population.
This means that people with MS – who already have mobility problems and often have a higher risk of falls – are also at greater risk of developing bone fractures.
Numerous factors are known to promote the development of osteoporosis. In people with MS, physical disability and corticosteroid therapy are two extra factors that may increase the risk of osteoporosis even further.
A research team from the Czech Republic investigated the effect of physical disability and steroid exposure on the incidence of bone fractures in people with MS.
The team studied a large number of patients – 474 in one study, 438 in another. They showed that bone health and the incidence of fractures in people with MS are related more to impaired gait (the way people walk) than to extended corticosteroid therapy.
Therefore, although extensive steroid therapy has a detrimental effect on bone metabolism, this is outweighed by its benefits.
In addition, effective prevention of osteoporosis should be used in patients with MS.