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Guidelines demand DEXA scans for all patients on steroids

All patients taking inhaled or oral steroids should have their bone mineral density measured with DEXA scanning, according to new guidelines.

The guidelines on steroid-induced osteoporosis, published last month by the Royal College of Physicians and the National Osteoporosis Society, said 1 per cent of patients in the UK were taking oral steroids and GPs needed to be aware of the increased risk of osteoporosis in these patients.

High-risk patients taking inhaled or oral steroids, including those aged 65 and over, should be prescribed bone-protective therapy, such as bisphosphonates and calcium, the guidance said.

GPs should also offer patients advice on maintaining an adequate dietary calcium intake and encourage appropriate physical activity.

Dr Juliet Compston, chair of the guidelines development group, said: 'Steroids are an important but still relatively neglected cause of osteoporosis.'

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