Bone health in multiple sclerosis.
People who are disabled with multiple sclerosis (MS) may be at increased risk of osteoporosis. This review discusses issues relevant to bone health in MS and makes practical recommendations regarding prevention and screening for osteoporosis and fracture risk in MS. A search of the literature up until 5 April 2011 was performed using key search terms, and articles pertinent to bone health in MS were analysed. Bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced at the lumbar spine, hip and total body in MS, with the degree of reduction being greatest at the hip. A strong relationship exists between the disability level, measured by the Expanded Disability Status Score, and BMD at the lumbar spine and femoral neck, particularly the latter. The rate of loss of BMD also correlates with the level of disability. Pulsed corticosteroids for acute episodes of MS, even with a high cumulative steroid dose, do not significantly affect BMD, but an effect on fracture risk is yet to be elucidated. There appears to be no correlation between vitamin D levels and BMD, and the relationship between disability and vitamin D levels remains unclear. Falls and fractures are more common than in healthy controls, and the risk rises with increasing levels of disability. The principal factor resulting in low BMD and increased fracture risk in MS is immobility. Antiresorptive therapy with bisphosphonates and optimising vitamin D levels are likely to be effective interventions although there are no randomised studies of this therapy.