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Bones and Lupus

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 Among premenopausal women taking steroids for lupus, various treatments preserve bone mineral density, should be considered for preventing osteoporosis. 

Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, is a chronic "autoimmune" disease in which the immune system can confuse healthy and foreign tissues and sometimes attacks both.  It can be due to corticosteroid treatment, or to the disease itself.

"... osteoporosis is being increasingly recognized in patients with SLE," Dr. Swan S. Yeap, of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, and colleagues.  Yeap's team assessed changes over 2 years in bone mineral density (BMD) in 98 premenopausal women with SLE on long-term steroid therapy.

Some were taking calcium only, some calcium plus calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D) and some calcium plus the bone-strengthening drug alendronate (Fosamax).

Women taking calcium plus alendronate saw significant increases in BMD at both the lumbar spine and hip.  In contrast, there were no significant changes found in the calcium-only and the calcium plus calcitic groups, except for a 0.93 percent reduction in hip BMD in the calcium-only group. In premenopausal women taking steroids for SLE, the researchers conclude, bone mineral density can be preserved or increased.

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