A study shows that patients with chronic lung disease are more likely to suffer bone fractures.
Inhaled steroids are often used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. It has long been believed that these drugs increase the risk of bone fractures. However, it may be the disease itself which is the problem, according to researchers at the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Netherlands.
They studied over 108,000 patients from the United Kingdom who had suffered from one or more bone fractures in the previous decade. Those using higher doses of inhaled steroids were, indeed, at higher risk of brittle bones. However, this turned out to be because they had severe lung disease, not because of the steroids they were taking. Such patients need to have their bone health monitored, but probably do not need to change their medication.