Over time, inhaled corticosteroids used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)) can increase bone fracture risk in men and women, according to a new study published in Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
While past research suggested long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids reduces bone density – especially in postmenopausal women – it had been unclear if this effect correlated to a higher risk for fractures. In this study, researchers from McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital-Lady Davis Research Institute, both in Montreal, Canada, analyzed data involving 240,110 patients with COPD over the age of 55. They discovered that that high-dose corticosteroid use is associated with a modest, but significant, increase in hip or upper extremity fracture risk.
In all, 19,396 of the study participants sustained a fracture during an average span of about five years – a rate of about 15.2 per 1,000 people per year. Fracture rates were highest in men and women who used inhaled corticosteroids for longer than four years, at doses of 1,000 mcg or more.