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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Risk of low bone mineral density in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with biologics

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Kengo Takahashi, Takao Setoguchi, Hiroki Tawaratsumida, Yoshiya Arishima, Hiroyuki Tominaga, Yasuhiro Ishidou, Satoshi Nagano, Sanae Shigemizu, Noriko Aoki, Masaki Akimoto, Hideo Otsubo, Takemasa Matsuda, Hironori Kakoi, Toshihiko Izumi, Shunsuke Nakamura, Masahiro Yokouchi, Nobuhiko Sunahara, Setsuro Komiya
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12891-015-0732-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Kengo Takahashi, Takao Setoguchi, Hiroki Tawaratsumida contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

TS and H. Tominaga conceived and designed the study. KT, H. Tawaratsumida, YA, SS, NA, MA, HO, TM and NS collected data. HK, MH, MY, SN, YI and TS analyzed the data. TS and SK wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ information

Not applicable.



Osteoporosis is a complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We identified risk factors for osteoporosis during treatment with biologics.


Femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) was measured in 186 patients with biologics-treated RA. We compared the characteristics of those with BMD ≥70 % of young adult mean (YAM) and those with BMD <70 % of YAM, and undertook multivariable logistic regression analysis to identify risk factors for bone loss.


Mean age and disease duration, the proportion of females, scores in the Modified Health Assessment Questionnaire and history of vertebral fracture were significantly greater in the BMD <70 % of YAM group, but body mass index (BMI) was significantly lower in the BMD <70 % of YAM group. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of other biomarkers of RA activity, the proportion treated with methylprednisolone, or the duration or choice of biologics. The proportions of patients treated with anti-osteoporosis drugs and parathyroid hormone were significantly higher in the BMD <70 % of YAM group. In the multivariable analysis, advanced age, female, longer disease duration, history of past thoracic or lumbar vertebral fracture, higher Steinbrocker classification and lower BMI were significant factors for BMD <70 % of YAM.


We identified risk factors for bone loss in patients with RA treated with biologics. Before suppression of disease activity by biologics, bone loss might already be advanced.


We recommend that patients with RA who possess these risk factors be considered for earlier and more intense treatment to prevent bone loss, as well as addressing RA disease progression.
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