Archives of Osteoporosis

, 14:16 | Cite as

Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis preventive care in rheumatology patients

  • G. Koller
  • S. Katz
  • T. L. Charrois
  • C. YeEmail author
Original Article



Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP) is common in patients prescribed with long-term glucocorticoids. Guidelines suggest patients receiving moderate-dose glucocorticoid therapy receive GIOP preventive care. Previous studies have shown preventive care rates are not optimal. We look at GIOP preventive care rates in rheumatology patients and predictors of various components of care.


Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP) is a common concern in patients prescribed with long-term glucocorticoids. Studies have shown GIOP preventive care is not provided optimally in the general population; however, little is published on GIOP preventive care among patients with rheumatic disease. The objective of this study is to determine the proportion of rheumatology patients who received GIOP preventive care.


A population-based retrospective quality assurance study of adults seen at the University of Alberta Rheumatology Clinic was performed using the electronic outpatient medical record. Records of adult patients prescribed with prednisone from January 1st to December 31st, 2016 by a rheumatologist were initially included for review. Those who had been prescribed ≥ 7.5 mg/day for ≥ 3 months were assessed for concurrent GIOP preventive care.


A total of 745 discreet courses of prednisone were prescribed in 433 patients with 113 meeting the above inclusion criteria. Following the prednisone prescription, 79% were taking vitamin D, 86% were taking calcium, and 50% were prescribed with osteoporosis pharmacotherapy. Twenty-five percent of patients had DXA imaging ordered by the rheumatologist within the first 6 months; of these, 86% of patients completed the DXA.


Overall, our study shows that patients under the care of rheumatologists receive better GIOP preventative care than previously reported care in the general population. However, there is still room for improvement. In particular, men, younger patients, and rural patients seem to be at the most at risk of not receiving optimal GIOP prevention.


Glucocorticoid Steroid Bisphosphonate Osteoporosis Rheumatologist 



Authors’ roles: Study design: GK, SK, TLC, and CY. Study conduct: GK and CY. Data collection: GK and CY. Data analysis: GK, TLC, and CY. Data interpretation: GK, SK, TLC, and CY. Drafting manuscript: GK and CY. Revising manuscript: GK, SK, TLC, and CY. Revising manuscript content: GK, SK, TLC, and CY. Approving final version of manuscript: GK, SK, TLC, and CY. GK takes responsibility for the integrity of the data analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Division of RheumatologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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