PURPOSE OF REVIEW - Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors are effective for achieving disease control in several inflammatory diseases. Although anti-TNF agents can inhibit bone loss in vitro, their role in the prevention of clinically relevant outcomes such as osteoporosis and fractures has not been clearly established.
RECENT FINDINGS - There are many studies of the effects of TNF inhibitors on markers of bone turnover; however, few have measured bone mineral density (BMD) or fractures. Most of these studies have small sample sizes and a minority had a placebo control group. Overall these studies suggest that the antiresorptive effects of anti-TNF therapy are related to control of disease activity.
SUMMARY - The antiresorptive effects of TNF inhibitors are likely related to their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies to date have not demonstrated any advantages of TNF inhibitors over traditional nonbiologic therapies in the prevention of bone loss and fractures.