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Glucocorticoids, also known as Steroids & Bone loss

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Glucocorticoids, also known as Steroids & Bone loss


Steroid medications which are also known as glucocorticoids or corticosteroids are medications that are used to treat many diseases and conditions.

Arthritis, COPD and Asthma are three of the many diseases that steroids are commonly used with. Examples are prednisolone and Delta Cortril.

Steroids cause bone loss and also affect the strength of bone, making them weaker therefore at risk to break more easily. The higher the dose and the longer a person is taking steroids, the higher risk of fracturing (*breaking bones). This is why anyone on steroids should have their bone health monitored.

How do they affect bone?

Bone is a living tissue which is constantly being removed and replaced. A person with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis has lost more bone than was replaced.

Steroids negatively affect the building up of new bone as well as increasing the amount of bone being removed.

We do not recommend that anyone stop taking steroids without having a discussion with the health care professional who prescribed them for you.

Research shows that steroids in tablet form appears to affect bone more than when taken in an inhaler, injection or cream.

The reason being that when a steroid is taken in an inhaler or by injection or a cream, it is directed at a specific area, so less is absorbed in a person’s bloodstream, which can affect bone more directly.