Understand All Your Treatment Options
Knowing you have osteoporosis can be unsettling. You might worry about how it will affect your life today, tomorrow, down the road. While those are certainly valid concerns, there’s no reason to panic. Luckily, it’s never too late to make lifestyle changes that can help stall bone loss—things like boosting your intake of calcium and vitamin D and making exercise a part of your routine. What’s more, your doctor has several osteoporosis medications in his prescription toolbox, each working in a slightly different way, to help you keep and/or build bone mass. Even better—with so many options, if one doesn’t work for you, there are many other types to try.
Bisphosphonates: These drugs slow bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. They work by reducing the amount of bone your body breaks down.
Calcitonin: This drug slows bone loss, increases bone density in the spine and reduces the risk of spinal fractures. Calcitonin is a hormone involved in calcium regulation and bone metabolism.
Estrogen: Hormone therapy with estrogen is used to slow bone loss, increase bone density in the spine and hip, and reduce the risk of hip, spine and other fractures.
Estrogen agonist/antagonist: This drug slows bone loss, increases bone density and reduces the risk of spinal fractures. It is similar to estrogen but is not a hormone. This type of drug is also known as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM).
Parathyroid hormone (PTH): This hormone rebuilds bone and increases bone density, especially in the spine.
RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitor: This drug slows bone loss, increases bone density and reduces the risk of fracture in the spine, hip and other areas. It works by slowing the amount of bone your body breaks down.
Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation
Not sure which treatment is right for you? Check our list of questions to ask your doctor.
One of the biggest reasons osteoporosis treatments don’t work? People stop taking the meds. If you’re having trouble sticking to your medication schedule, talk to your doctor. Find a medicine that works for you and your schedule.