Prolia is a medication used for treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who are at a high risk for fractures and in people who have not been successful with other osteoporosis treatments. The drug comes in the form of an injection that is administered by a healthcare provider every six months. Side effects include pain in the back, arms, or legs.
What Is Prolia?
Prolia® (denosumab) is a prescription medication approved to treat osteoporosis. Specifically, it is approved for use in postmenopausal women who are at a high risk for fractures (broken bones) and in people who have tried other osteoporosis treatments without success (or are intolerant of such treatments). Prolia is given as an injection twice a year.
Prolia is a manufactured antibody that is designed specifically to bind to a protein known as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL). Prolia prevents RANKL from activating the RANK receptor on the surface of osteoclast cells (as well as immature cells that will eventually become osteoclast cells). Osteoclasts are bone cells that are responsible for the breakdown of bone. Prolia slows down the formation, activity, and survival of osteoclast cells, thereby decreasing bone breakdown.
How Effective Is It?
Prolia has been evaluated in studies of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. In these studies, taking Prolia (along with calcium and vitamin D) reduced the risk of vertebral fractures (broken spinal bones) by 68 percent, compared to women who took just calcium and vitamin D. Prolia also reduced the risk of hip fractures by 40 percent. Also, women taking this medication showed increased bone mineral density, compared to the women not taking the drug.
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