Bone mineral density in women with asthma on long-term inhaled corticosteroid therapy

Savithri B. Bonala, Byra M. Reddy, Bernard A. Silverman, Clifford W. Bassett, Yalamanchili A.K. Rao, Sreenivasrao Amara, Arlene T. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) have become first line agents in the management of moderate-to-severe asthma. Long-term use of ICS is associated with decreased bone mineral density (BMD). Objective: To investigate the prevalence of BMD loss and its severity in women with asthma on long-term ICS. Methods: Fifty-six women with asthma on long-term ICS, attending an inner-city allergy clinic were selected to undergo bone densitometry in order to evaluate the association between BMD and the long-term use of ICS at different dose ranges. Results: Women (60.7%) had decreased BMD either at the lumbar spine or hip region. Among postmenopausal women, 17.1% of those <65 years and 42.9% of those ≥65 years had osteoporosis compared with 5.7% (95% CI-3.9% to 8.5%) of those <65 and 29.3% (95% CI-25.7%-33.5%) of those ≥65 years reported in the NHANES III survey. The prevalence of low BMD increased as ICS dose increased from 5% in the low dose group to 50% in the high dose group (P < .002). There were significant linear trends of decline by dose in mean BMD for the hip (P < .001) and the lumbar spine (P < .002). Women who received medium or high doses of ICS had significantly greater bone loss than those receiving low doses. Conclusion: The findings of increasing BMD loss with increasing ICS dose reinforce the necessity to monitor BMD periodically in women on ICS, particularly in the high risk postmenopausal group and those on medium to high doses. There should be a concurrent continual attempt to lower the dose by supplemental nonsteroidal controller medications and providing nutritional and pharmacologic treatment of identified BMD loss in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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