A new study shows patients with Crohn's disease do not have improved bone mineral density by adding bone-building drugs to calcium and vitamin D therapy. Crohn's is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the intestinal wall. It usually begins in the teenage years and is characterized by abdomen pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Patients with Crohn's disease suffer bone mass loss and bone fractures due to treatment with corticosteroids, poor nutrition, active inflammation, and calcium and vitamin D deficiencies.
Researchers studied the effectiveness of the bone-building drug etidronate (Didronel) in patients with Crohn's. It was found to have no additional benefit to calcium and vitamin D therapy. Calcium and vitamin D therapy alone were found to provided benefit to Crohn's patients who suffer from osteoporosis and osteopenia .
Thus researchers say based on their findings , physicians should consider BMD testing and drug therapy for patients who are at higher risk for osteoporosis and fractures, and not only for those who merely have Crohn's disease as a diagnosis.