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Recovery from Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

NICHOLAS A. POCOCK, M.B., B.S.; JOHN A. EISMAN, M.B., B.S., Ph.D.; COLIN R. DUNSTAN, M.Sc.; RICHARD A. EVANS, M.B., B.S.; DAVID H. THOMAS, B.Sc.; and N. LAILA HUQ, M.Sc.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by Sandoz Australia, the Australian and New South Wales Dairy Corporations, and the Garvan Research Foundation.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. John A. Eisman, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, St. Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, New South Wales 2010, Australia.


© 1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(3):319-323. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-107-2-319
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The reversibility of steroid-induced osteoporosis, a major complication of Cushing syndrome and long-term use of exogenous corticosteroids, is not well documented. We measured the bone mineral density of lumbar vertebrae and the femoral neck by dual-photon absorptiometry and determined the biochemical variables of bone turnover in two patients successfully treated for Cushing syndrome who were followed for the next 24 months. Our data are the first to show marked increases in bone density (up to 20%) during the recovery period. The accompanying biochemical changes, particulary the marked increase in serum osteocalcin levels, confirm that enhanced bone formation occurred during the recovery phase. These findings suggest that steroid-induced osteoporosis can be reversed at least in young persons.

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