Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at risk of low bone mineral density (BMD).
In this study, a team from London, England, assessed whether IBD patients in long-term remission have greater bone density than patients with active disease.
They also examined the effect of remission on BMD in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, as well as the effect of azathioprine on BMD.
The doctors measured BMD using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the left femoral neck and lumbar spine in 137 consecutive patients with IBD.
The team divided the patients into 4 groups:
- Group 1 = active disease
- Group 2 = remission of less than 1 year
- Group 3 = remission of 1 to 3 years
- Group 4 = remission of more than 3 years.
They defined active disease as ≥3 bowel motions per day, treatment with oral or rectal corticosteroids, and/or presence of a fistula.
|Patients taking azathioprine and in remission had higher mean Z-scores.|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
In addition, the team compared the patient subgroups with ulcerative colitis (n = 64) and Crohn's disease (n = 73), as well as the effect of azathioprine treatment.
The doctors found that patients in group 4 had a normal mean Z-score at both the femoral neck and the lumbar spine. This was significantly higher than in patients with active disease.
In addition, the team determined that patients taking azathioprine and in remission had higher mean Z-scores at the lumbar spine than patients with active disease and not taking azathioprine.
Dr David Reffitt's team concluded, "In patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, age-matched BMD is higher with increasing duration of disease remission and induction of remission by azathioprine".