Drabkin, Anne; Rothman, Micol S.; Wassenaar, Elizabeth; Mascolo, Margherita; Mehler, Philip S.
Aim: To review current medical literature regarding the causes and clinical management options for low bone mineral density (BMD) in adult patients with eating disorders. Background: Low bone mineral density is a common complication of eating disorders with potentially lifelong debilitating consequences. Definitive, rigorous guidelines for screening, prevention and management are lacking. This article intends to provide a review of the literature to date and current options for prevention and treatment. Methods: Current, peer-reviewed literature was reviewed, interpreted and summarized. Conclusion: Any patient with lower than average BMD should weight restore and in premenopausal females, spontaneous menses should resume. Adequate vitamin D and calcium supplementation is important. Weight-bearing exercise should be avoided unless cautiously monitored by a treatment team in the setting of weight restoration. If a patient has a Z-score less than expected for age with a high fracture risk or likelihood of ongoing BMD loss, physiologic transdermal estrogen plus oral progesterone, bisphosphonates (alendronate or risedronate) or teriparatide could be considered. Other agents, such as denosumab and testosterone in men, have not been tested in eating-disordered populations and should only be trialed on an empiric basis if there is a high clinical concern for fractures or worsening bone mineral density. A rigorous peer-based approach to establish guidelines for evaluation and management of low bone mineral density is needed in this neglected subspecialty of eating disorders.