Volume 53 (2006) Issue 1 Pages 27-34
Glucocorticoid (GC)-induced osteoporosis (GIO) is a serious problem for patients taking GC therapy. GC increases risk for fracture. However, there are controversies regarding the threshold of bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with GIO. The present study aimed to examine the relationship between the presence or absence of vertebral fracture and various indices including BMD in 136 female Japanese patients treated with oral GC (102 patients with autoimmune diseases). Moreover, we analyzed the cut-off values of BMD for incidence of vertebral fracture in patients with oral GC use and compared these values with those in control subjects. BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and distal one third of radius. We compared various indices between patients taking oral GC with and without vertebral fracture. Age, body height, and body weight were significantly greater, shorter, and lower in the group with vertebral fracture, respectively. As for BMD, age-matched BMD seemed lower in the fracture group, although the differences were significant between both groups only at the femoral neck. Duration of GC treatment was longer in the fracture group. Cut-off values of BMD at lumbar spine, femoral neck, and distal radius were higher in patients with GC treatment compared with those of control group [GC vs control (g/cm2): 0.807 vs 0.716 at lumbar spine; 0.611 vs 0.581 at femoral; 0.592 vs 0.477 at radius]. The sensitivity and specificity were lower in patients with GC treatment compared with those of control group. The present study demonstrated that the thresholds of BMD for vertebral fracture were higher in Japanese female patients with oral GC treatment at any site compared with postmenopausal subjects. The factors other than BMD were considered to affect bone strength and vertebral fracture risk.