, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 27-46
Date: 09 Jan 2013

Drug-Induced Musculoskeletal Disorders

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Drug-induced musculoskeletal disorders represent a broad clinical spectrum, from asymptomatic biological abnormalities to severe and even life-threatening diseases. Since an increasing number of drugs have been implicated in inducing rheumatic symptoms and/or syndromes, this review is not meant to be exhaustive, bearing in mind that the development of any musculoskeletal disorder should be considered as possibly related to a medication.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the more frequent drug-induced musculoskeletal disorders. These include: (i) arthralgias and arthropathies, including chondropathies and inflammatory arthritis; (ii) connective tissue diseases, especially lupus-like syndromes; (iii) periarticular disorders, including tendinopathies, enthesopathies and frozen shoulder; (iii) bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia and osteonecrosis; and (iv) myopathies. Although virtually all drug classes may induce musculoskeletal disorders, a significant part of them are related to corticosteroids, vaccines, antibacterials and lipid-lowering agents.

Knowledge of drug-induced musculoskeletal disorders avoids carrying out unnecessary investigations, and allows optimal management of the patients, i.e. early discontinuation of the offending agent, adequate treatment monitoring and/or intervention with appropriate preventive actions.