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Minerva Medica 2004 December;95(6):481-8

language: English

Diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in inflammatory bowel disease

Reinshagen M., Von Tirpitz C.


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Osteoporosis is a frequent finding in patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The prevalence of vertebral fractures in those patients with significantly reduced bone mineral density is up to 22%. Factors contributing to osteoporosis in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are treatment with glucocorticoids, increased cytokine production by the inflammation itself, malabsorption and possibly hypogonadism. Therefore, consequent treatment of the underlying IBD and minimising therapy with systemic glucocorticoids, as well as the adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, may be very important measures to prevent bone loss in IBD. In patients with osteoporosis associated with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, various treatment strategies, such as sodium fluoride and aminobisphosphonates, are discussed. Unfortunately, interventional studies in secondary osteoporosis are often limited by the small study population. The efficacy in prevention of vertebral fractures is not proven in any of the described treatment modalities in these patients. Therefore, guidelines are based on data using bone density as the most accepted surrogate marker and treatment guidelines are based on data from patients with postmenopausal and steroid-induced osteoporosis.

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