The degree and extent of bone loss is most closely related to cumulative corticosteroid dose. The most rapid rate of bone loss is during the first 3 to 6 months of therapy. All patients starting gluocorticoids at any dose with an anticipated duration of at least 3 months or longer should start calcium 1200-1500mg/day and vitamin D 800-1000 international units/day supplementation. These patients should also be counseled on smoking cessation and weight-bearing activities. Additionally, they should be assessed for fall risk, baseline height, and history of fragility fractures.
☞ Instruct patient to immediately report irregular heartbeats, black tarry stools, vision changes, unusual tiredness, yellowing of skin or eyes, change in urination pattern, difficulty breathing, finger or ankle swelling, weight gain, itching, rash, fever, or sore throat.
• Caution patient to avoid driving and other hazardous activities until he knows how drug affects concentration, alertness, and balance.
• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, tests, herbs, and behaviors mentioned above.