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Bone mineral density in patients with Crohn's disease during long-term treatment with azathioprine

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Floren C-H, Ahren B, Bengtsson M, Bartosik J, Obrant K (Lund University, Malmo, Sweden). Bone mineral density in patients with Crohn's disease during long-term treatment with azathioprine. J Intern Med 1998; 243: 123-26.Objectives

To ascertain whether patients with Crohn's disease treated with azathioprine maintained bone mineral mass better than patients treated with steroids alone.Design

Retrospective study.Setting

University Hospital of Malmo, Sweden.Subjects

A total of 59 patients with ileocolonic, ileocaecal or colonic Crohn's disease.Methods

Bone mass was assessed by dual photon X-ray absorptiometry at the level of L2 - L4.Results

Patients treated with a high lifetime dose of steroids (> 5 g prednisolone) had significantly (P = 0.011) lower Z-score of L2-L4 (-0.87 ± 1.11; 11 SD) than steroid-treated patients, who had received a low dose of prednisolone (< 5 g) (0.08 ± 1.16 SD). Azathioprine did not negatively influence the steroid effect on bone mineral density.Conclusions

Azathioprine does not seem to affect bone mineral density by itself. However, by being steroid-saving, it seems to conserve bone mineral mass in patients with Crohn's disease.

Keywords: Crohn's disease; azathioprine; bone mineral density; corticosteroids; prednisolone

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Internal Medicine and Orthopedics 2: Malmo University Hospital, Lund University, Malmo, Sweden 3: Wallenberg Laboratory

Publication date: February 1, 1998

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