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Osteoporosis Medicine

Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and medical history
  • How sick you are
  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

The goals of managing osteoporosis are to:

  • Decrease pain
  • Prevent fractures
  • Minimize further bone loss

Some of the ways to treat osteoporosis are also ways to prevent it. They include:

  • Maintain a proper body weight.
  • Increase walking and other weight-bearing exercises.
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Get enough calcium through diet and supplements, including Vitamin D.
  • Prevent falls in older adults by installing hand railings, or assistive devices in the bathroom or shower.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about medicines that may help.

The FDA has approved these medicines to maintain bone health in women with osteoporosis at menopause:

  • Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). ERT reduces bone loss, increases bone density, and reduces the risk of hip and spinal fractures in postmenopausal women. However, a woman considering ERT should talk with her healthcare provider first. Research found several important health risks associated with this therapy. For many women, the risks of ERT outweigh the benefits.
  • Biophosphonates. These medicines reduce bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce the risk of fractures.
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS). This medicine helps prevent bone loss.
  • Parathyroid hormone. This medicine is a form of parathyroid hormone. It is approved to treat men and postmenopausal women who are at high risk for fractures. It helps form bone.
  • Monoclonal antibody. This medicine is given by injection under the skin. It’s approved for women with osteoporosis at high risk for fractures. It’s also used for women who are being treated with cancer medicines that can weaken bones.