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Premature atherosclerosis is one of the major complications of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Recently, the biological linkage between atherosclerosis and osteoporosis has garnered much attention. The aim of this study is to explore correlation between the development of atherosclerosis and anti-osteoporotic treatment.
Consecutive patients with SLE (n = 117) who underwent carotid ultrasonography were retrospectively analyzed using propensity scoring.
Of the 117 patients, 42 (36%), 27 (23%), and 30 (26%) were receiving bisphosphonates and vitamin D (BP + VD), bisphosphonates alone, or vitamin D alone, respectively. Low bone mineral density was more frequent, and carotid plaque was less prevalent in the BP + VD group compared with other treatment groups. Age (OR = 1.57) and BP + VD treatment (OR = 0.24) were shown by multivariate analysis to be associated with the presence of carotid plaque. In all strata divided using the propensity score, carotid plaque was statistically significantly less prevalent (p = 0.015, Mantel-Haenszel test) in the BP + VD group relative to the other treatment groups.
Combined treatment with bisphosphonate and vitamin D may have a role in preventing atherosclerosis in patients with SLE.