Drugs and Medications for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Medications to Slow Bone Loss or Build More Bone

Written by Isador H. Lieberman, MD, MBA, FRCSC

This information is about osteoporosis drugs your doctor may prescribe to prevent or slow osteoporosis and to help build or rebuild bone. These drugs work to slow the action of osteoclasts (cells that break bone down) and/or to speed up the action of osteoblasts (forms new bone). The type of drug prescribed often depends on what is causing you to lose bone mineral density.
Listed below are several osteoporosis medications:

Alendronate, alendronate plus Vitamin D

Calcitonin

Denosumab

Estrogen or hormone replacement therapy
This used to be the only FDA-approved way to treat osteoporosis, but that was in the late 1990s. Now, concerns about related risks of breast cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots mean that estrogen therapy isn't used as much. Your doctor will probably recommend a very low dosage or a very short amount of time.

Ibandronate

Raloxifene

Risedronate, risedronate with calcium

Teriparatide, parathyroid hormone

Zoledronic acid

Drugs and Medications after a Spinal Fracture
Spinal fractures can be very painful—or maybe you won't feel pain at all. It all depends on what vertebra breaks and how it affects the rest of the spine. For example, the broken vertebra could pinch a nerve, causing you a lot of pain.

How much pain you have influences what drugs or medications you take. To deal with pain immediately following a fracture, you could try an over-the-counter medication:

If you still have pain, your doctor may prescribe an NSAID, something stronger than what you can get over-the-counter.

A spinal fracture may also cause muscle spasms as your muscles have to work harder to support your spine while it heals. For that, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant.

As with any drug or medication, please talk to a trusted medical professional before trying anything. You need to take into consideration your other medications and possible complications.

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