Osteoporosis - Medications
Medicines are used to both prevent and
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.
If you take medicine for
osteoporosis, you will also need to get enough calcium and vitamin D, eat
a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. A large part of treating or reducing
the effects of osteoporosis is
getting enough calcium and
Medicines for treatment and prevention
used to prevent or treat osteoporosis include:
- Bisphosphonates, such as alendronate (Fosamax),
ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel), and zoledronic acid (Reclast),
which slow the rate of bone thinning and can lead to increased bone
density. These medicines may be used in men and
- Osteoporosis: Should I Take Bisphosphonate Medicines?
- Raloxifene (Evista), a selective
estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), which is used only in women. Raloxifene
slows bone thinning and causes some increase in bone thickness.11
- Calcitonin (Calcimar or Miacalcin), a
naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate calcium levels in your body and
is part of the bone-building process. When taken by shot or nasal spray, it
slows the rate of bone thinning. Calcitonin also relieves pain caused by
spinal compression fractures. Calcitonin is used in
men and women.
- Parathyroid hormone (teriparatide
[Forteo]), used for the treatment of men and postmenopausal women with severe
osteoporosis who are at high risk for bone
fracture. It is given by injection.
- Denosumab (Prolia), which is used to treat women who are past menopause and who are at high risk for bone
fracture. It works by slowing bone thinning, so bone is able to become stronger. It is given by injection, usually every 6 months.
Hormone therapy for osteoporosis
in women includes:
- Estrogen. Estrogen without progestin
(estrogen replacement therapy, or ERT) 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), ERT is only used if a woman has had her uterus
- Estrogen and progestin. In rare cases, the combination of estrogen and progestin
(hormone replacement therapy, or HRT) is recommended for women who have
testosterone (shots, gel, or patches) sometimes is
given to prevent osteoporosis caused by low testosterone levels. Use
of testosterone to treat osteoporosis has not been approved by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), though.
A woman's level of the hormone
estrogen, which affects the growth and loss of bone, decreases naturally during
and after menopause. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) or
combination estrogen/progesterone replacement therapy (HRT) can help
to reduce bone loss.