Osteoporosis affects nearly 3 million people in the UK.
It is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.
The National Osteoporosis Society said one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis.
The condition develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a minor fall or sudden impact causes a bone fracture.
Prednisolone is a corticosteroid used to treat a wide range of health problems including allergies, blood disorders, skin diseases, infections, certain cancers and prevent organ rejections.
It works by reducing inflammation and dampening down the immune system.
Alendronate prescribed to those at risk of fractures works by slowing down the breakdown of bone.
Professor Mattias Lorentzon of the University of Gothenburg said: “Glucocorticoid therapy is widely used to treat inflammatory conditions and is the most common cause of secondary osteoporosis.
“Glucocorticoid treatment leads to rapid bone loss, reflected by reduced bone mineral density (BMD).
“Glucocorticoids are associated with an increased rate of fracture, and higher doses and longer use of glucocorticoids are associated with higher risks of fracture.
“Compared with patients not taking glucocorticoids, the risk of hip and vertebral fracture among patients taking glucocorticoids is increased by 60 per cent and 160 per cent respectively.”
However experts found the painkiller alendronate reduces the risk of hip fracture by 40 per cent in postmenopausal women who are not treated with glucocorticoids.
Experts set out to investigate whether alendronate prescribed to patients treated with prednisolone was associated with reduced risk of hip fracture in a large cohort of older men and women.
Experts identified a group of more than 3,000 patients – one group who were taking the painkiller after the steroids and one group taking the steroids but not the painkillers.
They found older patients using medium to high…