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Osteoporosis Health Center

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Osteoporosis - Medications

Medicines are used to both prevent and treat osteoporosis. Some medicines slow the rate of bone loss or increase bone thickness. Even small amounts of new bone growth can reduce your risk of broken bones.

Medicine for treatment and prevention

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is typically not recommended for most women who have osteoporosis. But if you are at high risk and cannot take other medicines, your doctor may recommend it under certain circumstances. If you continue to have bone loss while taking a bisphosphonate, such as alendronate (Fosamax) or risedronate (Actonel), you may need to take both bisphosphonate medicine and hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy for osteoporosis in women includes:

  • Estrogen. Estrogen without progestin (estrogen therapy, or ET) may be used to treat osteoporosis in women who have gone through menopause and do not have a uterus. Because taking estrogen alone increases the risk for cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer), ET is only used if a woman has had her uterus removed (hysterectomy).
  • Estrogen and progestin. In rare cases, the combination of estrogen and progestin (hormone therapy, or HT) is recommended for women who have osteoporosis.

Medicine for pain from fractures

Compression fractures and other broken bones resulting from osteoporosis can cause significant pain that lasts for several months. Medicines to relieve this pain include:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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