Skip to content

Osteoporosis Health Center

Font Size

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:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 30, 2013
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Women working out and walking with weights
    Reduce bone loss and build stronger muscles.
    Chinese cabbage
    Calcium-rich foods to add to your diet.
     
    woman stretching
    Get the facts on osteoporosis.
    Porous bone
    Causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.
     
    Lactose Intolerance
    Article
    Woman holding plate of brocolli
    Article
     
    Dairy products
    Tool
    Superfood for Bones
    Slideshow
     
    Screening Tests for Women
    Slideshow
    exercise endometrial cancer
    Article
     
    hand holding medicine
    Article
    Working Out With Osteoporosis
    Video