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Picking the Right Osteoporosis Medicine for You

Here are 6 types of osteoporosis medicine to consider.

No. 6: Estrogen Hormone Therapy: Prevent Hot Flashes and Osteoporosis

For women who want to get rid of hot flashes -- and prevent osteoporosis -- hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an option. However, there are serious risks of heart disease, stroke, and blood clots in the lungs. There also are increased risk of breast cancer and possibly other cancers.

Those risks end when women stop taking HRT, new research shows. But doctors prescribe the lowest possible dose of HRT for the shortest amount of time for women who have bothersome hot flashes. The bone-building benefits of HRT are a plus -- as it is known to preserve bone and prevent fractures.

Tanner doesn't support the use of HRT for osteoporosis. "HRT was pretty much shot down by the FDA -- relegated to short-term use only," Tanner tells WebMD. "The other issue is that HRT has no lasting value. As soon as you stop taking it, you go through bone menopause, unlike the bisphosphonates, which provide sustained benefit for months if not years if you stop taking it." Fosamax stays in the bone for 10 years, he adds.

But Thacker believes that "hormonal therapy is greatly overlooked." She is author of the book, Women's Health: Your Body, Your Hormones, Your Choices. "It can reduce all types of fractures in women. If you're a mid-life woman at risk for osteoporosis, with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, hormone therapy is a good idea. If you're under age 60, the benefits outweigh the risks."

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Osteoporosis Glossary

  • Bone Mineral Density - A measurement of the amount of calcium and minerals in bone tissue.
  • Calcium - A mineral in (and vital to) your bones. If your body lacks calcium, it takes it from bones.
  • DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) - a test used to measure bone mineral density.
  • Osteoporosis - A decrease in bone density, which increase the risk of fractures.
  • Vitamin D - A vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium.
  • View All Terms

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