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What are some medications for osteoporosis?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
The following medications are approved for use in osteoporosis treatment and prevention:
  • alendronate (Fosamax; Also, Fosamax Plus D): It is taken as a daily tablet or weekly liquid or tablet. It is approved for prevention and treatment in postmenopausal women, treatment in men, and for men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
  • risedronate (Actonel): It is taken as a daily, weekly, or monthly tablet. It is approved for prevention and treatment in postmenopausal women and for men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
  • ibandronate (Boniva): It is taken as a monthly tablet or quarterly intravenous injection. It is approved for prevention and treatment in postmenopausal women (oral version) and treatment in postmenopausal women (intravenous preparation).
  • zoledronic acid (Reclast): It is taken as a 15-minute infusion, given annually for treatment or every two years for prevention. It is approved for prevention and treatment in postmenopausal women, treatment of osteoporosis in men, and treatment of men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
  • raloxifene (Evista): It is taken as a daily tablet. It is approved for prevention and treatment in postmenopausal women.
  • hormone therapy (Premarin, Ogen, Estrace, Estratab, Premphase, Prempro, FemHRT, Activella, Estraderm, Climara, others): Therapy can be in the form of tablets and patches. It is approved for prevention in women.
  • calcitonin (Miacalcin, Calcimar, Fortical): It is taken as an injection, given daily or every other day, or as daily nasal spray. It is approved for treatment only.
  • teriparatide/parathyroid hormone, or PTH (Forteo): It is taken as a daily injection. It is approved for treatment of osteoporosis in men and postmenopausal women and treatment for women and men with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
  • denosumab (Prolia): a human monoclonal antibody that reduces the protein RANKL with a resultant decrease in the formation of active osteoclasts and in their function and survival. Thus, a reduction in the breakdown of bone. It is administered as a 60 mg subcutaneous injection once every 6 months. It is approved for the treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis at high risk of fracture.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.