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Guides & Guidelines

Bone health and osteoporosis management of the patient with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

key information

source: Pediatrics

year: 2018

authors: Ward LM, Hadjiyannakis S, McMillan HJ, Noritz G, Weber DR


Duchenne muscular dystrophy is associated with an increased risk of bone fragility due to the adverse effects of prolonged glucocorticoid therapy and progressive muscle weakness on bone strength. Osteoporosis manifests clinically as low-trauma long-bone and vertebral fractures (VFs), with VFs frequent, particularly in those treated with glucocorticoid therapy. It is increasingly recognized that bone pain, medical complications of osteoporosis (such as fat embolism syndrome), and the potential for permanent, fracture-induced loss of ambulation can be mitigated with timely bone health surveillance and management. This includes periodic spine radiographs for VF detection because VFs can be asymptomatic in their early phases and thereby go undetected in the absence of monitoring.

With this article, we provide a comprehensive review of the following 4 phases of bone health management: (1) bone health monitoring, which is used to identify early signs of compromised bone health; (2) osteoporosis stabilization, which is aimed to mitigate back pain and interrupt the fracture-refracture cycle through bone-targeted therapy; (3) bone health maintenance, which has the goal to preserve the clinical gains realized during the stabilization phase through ongoing bone-targeted therapy; and (4) osteoporosis therapy discontinuation, which places those who are eligible for discontinuation of osteoporosis treatment back on a health monitoring program. In the course of reviewing these 4 phases of management, we will discuss the criteria for diagnosing osteoporosis, along with detailed recommendations for osteoporosis intervention including specific drugs, dose, length of therapy, contraindications, and monitoring of treatment efficacy and safety.

organization: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada; Nationwide Children's Hospital, USA; Golisano Children's Hospital, USA

DOI: 10.1542/peds.2018-0333E

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