Preventing Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

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January 02, 2008 | 16,603 views

Steroid hormones, like prednisone, have revolutionized the management of many illnesses, reducing morbidity in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and mortality in other diseases such as asthma. However, they have many side effects, one of the most troubling being osteoporosis. It is interesting that the way they destroy bone density is by impairing the cells that build bone (osteoblasts). These are the same cells that natural progesterone builds up.

The articles in this week's New England Journal attempt to support the use of medications like Didronel and Fosamax to prevent the bone loss while on steroids. What they don't explain is that these drugs are metabolic poisons that kill the cell that remove your bone. They are diphosphonates which is the same material that is in products to remove soap scum from your bathtub. Any crstalline structure, like bone or steel, will weaken with time. The cells that remove the bone are an important part of the strategy to rebuild the bone to have strong bone. If it is not removed, although it will be denser, this bone will actually become weaker and more susceptible to breaking.

If you know anyone on Fosamax you would serve them well by encouraging them to stop that poison and immediately switch over to natural progesterone. This can also be used for males. The dose does have to be decreaed though to about 5 mg per day. I have successfully used that intervention for males with M.S. who have had to be placed on large doses of prednisone.

N Engl J Med 1997;337:382-387,420-421