Is bone loss due to prednisone use reversible?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 1/6/2008 9:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been on prednisone at varying doses (probably averageing 17mg) for seven months now. I've been taking 1000mg of calcium/D daily the whole time, but just got the results of a bone density test and found out I have "moderate" bone loss. I see a lot on the web of how to prevent this, but I haven't seen much on how to reverse it - if it can't be reversed (please say yes). I know I need to go on some sort of additional medicine for this, but will it only prevent further loss?
Ben, 38
Symptoms started 10/06, diagnosed 4/07.
Currently on 8.75mg Prednisone (w/calcium), trying Sulphasalazine.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 1/6/2008 9:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes. Bone loss from steroid use can be reversed.

Calcium supplementation and weight bearing exercise will help.

An Rx from your doc for Fosamas/Actonel/Boniva can help you as well. Best to talk with your doc about the best approach for you :)
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 75mg, Aciphex, Effexor XR, Forvia and a Probiotic
Osteopenia (hip and spine) from prednisone use.  Started Azathioprine because I was steroid dependent.
Co-Mod for the UC forum
Keep HealingWell running smoothly:

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 26842
   Posted 1/7/2008 1:07 AM (GMT -7)   
I have a friend who was on pred for 8 years and developed bone loss. She took Boniva and her latest bone scan is, it's worth it to do so rather than being on just calcium/D.

*Heather*Status: mini flare Dec 28... increased enemas to nightly
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~5ASA: Asacol (6 daily) + Salofalk enemas (increase for flares tapered to maintenance)
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed
~Probiotic 3(Natural Factors Protec) bedtime + 1 (Primadophilus Reuteri) occasionally
~multi-digestive enzymes as needed ....bromelain 1 - 2x daily
~Ranitidine,Pariet (reflux) Effexor XR 75mg;  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma)
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!

Another UC wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 1/7/2008 8:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Ditto on the above two posts - nothing I can really add except we have a friend whose has reversed and hubby is currently on the regimine per the Dr in addition to the calcium, fosamax now and able to play pickelball a few times a week will definitely make a big difference to help reverse it.

61 yr old male~Colitis 1st diagnosed Jan '05-cleared up within a few wks. Flared again in May '06 (now UC) & hospitalized 5/07-currently heading towards a remission. Osteopena of spine from prednisone DX 8/07  Oct 07 feeling quite normal most days.  150mg Imuran  Zero mg prednisone   12 Asacol, Lidocaine Hydrochloride Jelly 2%,multi vitamin, iron 1X day, DanActive, chewable calcium, fiber capsule 1x day, Prilosec 20mg, enalapril 10mg, glipizide 5 mg, zocor 40 mg, baby aspirin, (Fentanyl pain patch 50mg 72 hrs  Morphine Sulf 15 mg twice daily)Cortifoam enema PM, Canasa suppositiry AM, folic acid 1mg, Fosamax 1x month

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 526
   Posted 1/7/2008 8:37 AM (GMT -7)   
to reiterate, weight-bearing activity (weight lifting, especially in upper body) will help also, if you're up for that.
Pancolitis dx 3/07
12 Asacol/day
150mg Imuran/day (steroid dependent, reached this dose 9/07)
Various vitamins, a probiotic.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 697
   Posted 1/7/2008 10:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Weight training is very important. And taking in enough calcium. People (especially women) tend to neglect weight training in their exercise regimes and this is a big mistake. There are just too many benefits.
35 year old Male, Husband, Father of the best three kids in the universe.
First Flare was February 2005. Diagnosed June 2005-left-sided Colitis, suspect it has since spread. Started 4000 mg Oral Salofalk June 2005-stopped January 2007. Remission until November 2006. Been in a flare to various degrees since November 2006 to February 2007. Currently in remission.
Presently on 0 mg Prednisone-down from 60 mg!
Weekly 4000 mg Salofalk enemas.
Daily 4000 mg Salofalk oral.
Started Omeprazole 20 mg February 2007.
Co-Moderator-UC Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 1/15/2008 4:53 AM (GMT -7)   

Thank you! It was quite a relief to hear it is reversible. My doctor prescirbed Foxamax, which you take just once a week. I only get *four* pills for my copay - that's almost as much as my dogs heartworm medicine! Anyway, I'm supposed to take it for six month and then come back for another bone scan. It seems you can't take it if you have acid reflex, as it can be very hard on the esophagus. Took first pill Sunday, haven't noticed any side effects. This feel sort of like Harry Potter when Madame Pomfrey grows his bone back. I'll try to get to the gym more, too.

Ben, 38
Symptoms started 10/06, diagnosed 4/07.
Currently on 8.75mg Prednisone (w/calcium), trying Sulphasalazine.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2198
   Posted 1/15/2008 9:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, it's reversible. I had bone loss and was diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis. At my last scan, I was back within normal ranges. I have not taken extra calcium or any meds for bone loss, but I have been diligent with weight training and taking supplements that have reduced inflammation and improved digestion so I can properly absorb the nutrients I need from my diet.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999
Therapeutic dose sulfasalazine.
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice and Mucosaheal.

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