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
- Reference Bisphosphonates. These include alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel), and zoledronic acid (Reclast).
- Reference 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.
- Reference Denosumab (Prolia). It's used to treat people who are at high risk for bone fractures related to decreased bone density.
- Reference 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 fracture.
- Reference 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:
- Reference 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).
- Reference 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
Reference Compression fractures Opens New Window and other broken bones resulting from osteoporosis can cause significant pain that lasts for several months. Medicines to relieve this pain include:
- Nonprescription Reference acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
- Nonprescription Reference nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Opens New Window (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.
- A Reference narcotic Opens New Window pain reliever, such as codeine or morphine.
- Reference Calcitonin Opens New Window, such as Calcimar or Miacalcin.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 6, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine