Glucocorticoid Exposure and Fracture Risk in a Cohort of US Patients With Selected Conditions

Academic Article


  • © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The purpose of this work was to evaluate systemic glucocorticoid exposure and fracture among patients with newly-diagnosed inflammatory and immune-modulated conditions. Using administrative data, inception cohorts of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, and sarcoidosis patients age 18 to 64 years with benefits coverage ≥12 months before diagnosis (January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2012) were followed to clinical fracture, cancer diagnosis, or December 31, 2012. Glucocorticoid users were new to therapy. Fracture incidence rates (IRs) per 1000 person-years were stratified by prednisone equivalent doses. Cox's proportional hazards models assessed risk by daily and cumulative dose, and by time since discontinuation, adjusted for baseline characteristics. Most patients (72% of 403,337) had glucocorticoid exposure; 52% were under age 50. IR (95% confidence interval [CI]) of any osteoporotic fracture was elevated at doses <5 mg/day (IR 9.33; 95% CI, 7.29 to 11.77) versus 0 mg/day (IR 4.87 (95% CI, 4.72 to 5.02). Fracture rates were elevated at doses <5 mg/day in patients <50 years and those ≥50 years. In both age groups, fracture risk increased with increasing cumulative exposure, being approximately 2.5-fold higher at cumulative dose ≥5400 mg compared to <675 mg. At ≥5400 mg, IR values were 5.69 (95% CI, 4.32 to 7.35) in patients <50 years and 17.10 (95% CI, 14.97 to 19.46) in older patients. Fracture risk decreased significantly within months following glucocorticoid discontinuation. In patients with a variety of inflammatory conditions, fracture risk increased at doses as low as <5 mg/day. Risk increased with increasing cumulative exposure and decreased soon following glucocorticoid discontinuation. Trends were similar between patients older and younger than 50 years. © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Balasubramanian A; Wade SW; Adler RA; Saag K; Pannacciulli N; Curtis JR
  • Start Page

  • 1881
  • End Page

  • 1888
  • Volume

  • 33
  • Issue

  • 10