There are a number of FDA approved medications for osteoporosis. Many physicians will recommend and prescribe one of these medications.
If your osteoporosis bone density test comes back with a score indication of osteoporosis or osteopenia but you need to carefully consider all the options.
Osteoporosis is a serious disease which can make your bone very brittle and susceptible to fractures but some of the side effects of the medication maybe more than what you want to deal with. Sometime, a change in diet, supplementation and exercise can be enough without medication. You do want to consider taking the recommendation of your physician to take a medication but do all your homework first. These medications for osteoporosis are not a cure but can be treatments that can help some women.
The currently FDA approved medications for osteoporosis include*:
Actonel – Actonel (risedronate sodium) is a bisphosphonate and it is marketed by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals. Actonel is a prescription medication that prevents and treats postmenopausal osteoporosis. It is an oral monthly osteoporosis treatment.
It has been FDA approved to help prevent fractures at both the spine and other areas where fractures commonly occur. It is recommended to take Actonel in addition to calcium and vitamin d (not in replace of either).
Boniva – Boniva is another bisphosphonate medication and is marketed by Roche Laboratories. Boniva is approved for postmenopausal women for the treatment of osteoporosis including reversal of bone loss. It comes in two forms: a tablet and an injection.
There are very specific guidelines for taking this once a month tablet from of this osteoporosis medication. The Boniva injection is give every three months (four times per year) in a doctor’s office. Prior to each Boniva injection, you will have your kidneys tested. It is also recommended with Boniva to take a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
Reclast – Reclase (zoledronic acid) is yet another bisphosphonate based osteoporosis medication. It is marketed by Novartis. Reclast is the only FDA-approved, once-a-year treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis and is approved to help to increase bone density by protecting and strengthening bones.
One annual dose of Reclast must be administered by a health care professional through an IV taking at least 15 minutes. You will still need to take a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement to ensure blood calcium levels.
Evista – Evista (raloxifene HC) is a selective estrogen receptor modulator and is marketed by Eli Lilly and Company. Evista is approved to reduce the risk of spinal fractures due to osteoporosis and the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women who already have osteoporosis.
Evista has been show to stop the thinning of bones, increase bone mineral density and helps to restore bone loss rate to normal, premenopausal levels. It is a pill taken once-a-day and can be taken at anytime unlike many other medications of osteoporosis. It also needs to be supplemented by calcium and vitamin D. It has been on the market for over 10 years.
Fosamax – Fosamax (alendronate sodium) and Fosamax Plus D (alendronate sodium/cholecalciferol) is a bisphosphonate based osteoporosis medication marketed by Merek & Co. Both are approved to reduce the risk of spine and hip fractures in postmenopausal women.
Depending on what your doctor recommends – it is available as a once-weekly tablet, once-weekly oral solution or a once-daily. It must be taken exactly as prescribed. The makers of this medication are quick to point out that this medication is not enough, but need to be taken in combination with diet, exercise and vitamins.
Miacalcin – Miacalcin (calcitonin-salmon) is a synthetic form of calcitonin, a naturally occurring hormone produced by the thyroid gland and is marketed by Novaris Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Miacalcin has been show to increase spinal bone mass in women who have been postmenopausal for at least five years and is reserved for women can not tolerate estrogens.
It is available as a nasal spray or as an injection. The nasal spray is taken daily and must be used with at least 1000 mg. of calcium and 400 I.U. of vitamin D each day. Please note the nasal spray, it has not been shown to increase bone mass in the hip or other locations at this point.
The Miacalcin injection must be dosed and administered by a physician (including how often in needs to be administered) and needs to be supplemented daily by calcium and vitamin D.
Forteo – Forteo (teriparatide) is a synthetic form of parathyroid hormone and is marketed by Eli Lilly and Company. Forteo is approved for use in postmenopausal women and men with osteoporosis with a very high risk for fractures.
Forteo is an injection administered thought a disposable pen device that can be used for up to 28 days to give once-daily self-administered injections. It is not approved for use beyond two years. It should not be used to prevent osteoporosis or treat people who are not a high risk for fractures.
Didronel – Didronel is approved for Paget’s disease and the treatment of heterotopic ossification following total hip replacement. Didronel is not approved for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Prevention is best but if you or a loved one have osteoporosis you may want to consider one of these medications for osteoporosis with your physician. There are serious side effects that go with some of these medications that you need to consider including osteosarcoma (bone cancer), osteonecrosis of the jaw, chest pains, gastrointestinal issues, and painful muscles and joints to the point of limited mobility. You and your physician can best determine what osteoporosis treatment is right for you – many women do not need a medication early on with simple lifestyle changes.
*Some medication are not available worldwide and you should talk with your physician on what would be best for you.