Understanding Osteoporosis -- Diagnosis and Treatment
Medications for Osteoporosis continued...
Actonel, Binosto, Boniva, and Fosamax. These drugs treat osteoporosis by inhibiting cells that break down bone. Actonel, Binosto, and Fosamax are usually taken once a week while Boniva is taken once a month. There are strict ways to take these medications, since if taken incorrectly, they can lead to ulcers in the esophagus.
Reclast. Reclast is given as a once-yearly 15-minute infusion in a vein. Reclast is said to increase bone strength and reduce fractures in the hip, spine, wrist, arm, leg, or rib and works in a similar way as the drugs above.
Forteo. Forteo is also used for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and men who are at high risk for a fracture. A synthetic form of the naturally occurring parathyroid hormone, Forteo is the first drug shown to stimulate new bone formation and increase bone mineral density. It is self-administered as a daily injection for up to 24 months. Side effects include nausea, leg cramps, and dizziness.
Calcitonin. Calcitonin, another treatment option for osteoporosis, is a naturally occurring hormone that inhibits bone loss. It is available as a nasal spray or injection but is not considered as effective for fracture prevention as other available treatments. Side effects include nausea and skin rashes.
Prolia. Prolia is a monoclonal antibody -- a fully humanized, lab-produced antibody that interferes with the body's bone-breakdown mechanism. It's the first "biologic therapy" to be approved for osteoporosis treatment. It's approved for women at high risk of fracture when other osteoporosis drugs have not worked.
An Osteoporosis Diet for Strong Bones
To ensure that you're getting enough calcium to build and maintain strong bones, doctors recommend eating plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as nonfat milk, low-fat yogurt, broccoli, cauliflower, salmon, tofu, and leafy green vegetables. One glass of skim milk has the same amount of calcium as whole milk -- 300 mg of calcium.
According to a panel convened by the National Institutes of Health, women who are still menstruating, or who are postmenopausal but taking menopausal hormone therapy, should get 1,000 mg of calcium each day. This jumps to 1,200-1,500 mg per day for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy should get 1,500 mg of calcium per day.
The recommended daily intake of calcium for men is 1,000 mg per day (25 to 65 years old) and 1,500 mg per day from age 65 and up.
Because most women take in only about one-half or one-third as much calcium as they need through their diet, most doctors recommend calcium supplements to make up the difference. Calcium supplements are available in many forms, but calcium citrate and calcium gluconate appear to be more effective at reducing bone loss.
To help your body absorb calcium, doctors suggest taking vitamin D supplements, from 400 to 800 IU daily. The vitamin D is needed to help your body move ingested calcium from the small bowel into the blood stream; without vitamin D, dietary calcium is eliminated from the body.
Because calcium supplements can inhibit the absorption of certain drugs, check with your doctor before beginning calcium supplements if you are on any medication. You may need to take supplements at a different time of day than other medications.