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Management of glucocorticoid-related osteoporotic vertebral fracture

Stella Pui YanWongaChi ChiuMokb rights and content


The vertebral column is the most common site of osteoporotic fractures in long-term users of glucocorticoids. Vertebral fracture leads to significant morbidities such as unrelenting pain, spinal deformities and reduced mobility, leading to diminished quality of life. Epidemiological data on the prevalence of glucocorticoid-induced vertebral fractures are limited. As vertebral fracture is a strong risk factor for further fragility fractures and mortality, it should be treated appropriately. This article reviews recent data on the prevalence of vertebral fractures in glucocorticoid users, fracture risk stratification, and evidence-based treatment options. The risk of osteoporotic fractures estimated by FRAX should be adjusted for glucocorticoid users. The first-line treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis remains the bisphosphonates. Teriparatide and denosumab are alternative options. Percutaneous vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty may be considered for symptomatic control of acute vertebral fracture-related pain when conservative measures fail.