Objective: This study aimed to evaluate management practices for glucocorticoid (GC)-induced osteoporosis (GIOP) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients using 2017 American College of Rheumatology guidelines as a gold standard. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using a clinical database from the years 2011 to 2016. SLE cases with >90 days continuous prednisone use at doses of ≥7.51 mg daily were identified. Osteoporosis risk factors were assessed via chart review. The Fracture Risk Assessment (FRAX) score was estimated for patients > 40 years of age. Vitamin D, bisphosphonate prescriptions, and osteoporotic (OP) fractures were ascertained through chart review. A classification tree was used to identify the key patient-related predictors of bisphosphonate prescription. Results: A total of 203 SLE patients met the inclusion criteria. The recommended dose of vitamin D supplement was prescribed to 58.9% of patients < 40 years of age and 61.5% of patients ≥ 40 years of age. Among patients aged ≥ 40 years, 25% were prescribed bisphosphonates compared to 36% who met indications for bisphosphonates per the ACR guidelines. Another 10% were prescribed a bisphosphonate, despite not having indication per the ACR guidelines, which was considered as overtreatment. Among patients aged ≥ 40 years, older age and a higher FRAX score for major OP fracture and hip fracture predicted bisphosphonate prescription. In a classification tree analysis, patients with FRAX scores (for major OP fracture) of ≥ 23.5% predicted bisphosphonate prescription in this SLE population. Among patients who had OP fractures in the follow-up period, nine (6.50%) were inpatients receiving appropriate GIOP care versus 12 (13.6%) who were inpatients not receiving ACR-appropriate care (p = 0.098). Conclusions: In clinical practice, fewer SLE patients with or at risk for GIOP are prescribed vitamin D and bisphosphonates than recommended by the 2017 ACR guidelines. Also, in this study, another 10% were prescribed a bisphosphonate, despite not having an indication per the ACR guidelines. Patients were most likely to receive a bisphosphonate prescription if they had a major OP FRAX score of > 23.5%.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr. Anne Marie Weber-Main for her critical review and editing support.
- Fracture Risk Assessment score
- glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis
- vitamin D