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.
Medicine for treatment and prevention
- Bisphosphonates. These include alendronate (Fosamax),
ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel), and zoledronic acid (Reclast).
- Osteoporosis: Should I Take Bisphosphonate Medicines?
- Calcitonin (Calcimar or Miacalcin). This is a
naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate calcium levels in your body and
is part of the bone-building process. Calcitonin also relieves pain caused by
spinal compression fractures.
- Denosumab (Prolia). It's used to treat people who are at high risk for bone
fractures related to decreased bone density.
- Teriparatide (Forteo). It's used for the treatment of men and postmenopausal women who have severe
osteoporosis and who are at high risk for bone
- Raloxifene (Evista). This medicine is a selective
estrogen receptor modulator (SERM).
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
- Estrogen and progestin. In rare cases, the combination of estrogen and progestin
(hormone therapy, or HT) is recommended for women who have
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:
acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as
ibuprofen and naproxen. If you take NSAIDs regularly, your doctor may recommend that you also take a medicine such as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to protect your digestive system. But there is also a chance that PPIs can help cause osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about taking NSAIDs and PPIs for long periods of time.
narcotic pain reliever, such as codeine or
- Calcitonin, such as Calcimar or
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
November 6, 2012
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