Osteoporosis Home > Osteoporosis Drugs
Parathyroid Hormone Analogues
Like calcitonin, parathyroid hormone (PTH) is a naturally occurring hormone that affects the bone. PTH analogues are manufactured versions of parathyroid hormone. There is one PTH analogue available to treat osteoporosis -- teriparatide (Forteo™). Like calcitonin, teriparatide is a delicate molecule that cannot survive in the digestive system. Therefore, it must be taken by injection.
Vitamins and Minerals
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones. Even if you are taking a prescription osteoporosis medication, you still need to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Some people may be able to consume enough calcium and vitamin D though their diets. However, many people need to take supplements.
While most multivitamins contain vitamin D, they usually contain only a very small amount of calcium (since calcium is too "bulky" and would make most multivitamins too large). There are many different calcium products available, and your healthcare provider or pharmacist can help you choose one that is right for you. How much calcium and vitamin D you need to take depends on many factors, including your age and your diet.
One key piece of advice is to take your calcium in several small doses throughout the day. The body can absorb only so much calcium at once, and if you take more it is simply eliminated from the body without being absorbed. It is generally recommended to limit each individual dose to 500 mg to 600 mg of elemental calcium (often taken two or three times a day).
Sometimes, it can be confusing to understand the difference between elemental calcium and other measurements of calcium. Calcium comes in several forms, such as calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. The carbonate (or the citrate) portion weighs a certain amount, so the amount of calcium carbonate in each tablet is different from the amount of straight calcium (known as elemental calcium). A good calcium product will list the amount of elemental calcium on the label.