If you have osteoporosis or want to prevent it, there are several medications that can help. Some of the drugs used for osteoporosis include bisphosphonates, estrogen and hormone therapies, selective estrogen receptor modulators, calcitonin analogues, and parathyroid analogues. A daily intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and vitamin D, are also an important part of osteoporosis treatment and prevention.
An Introduction to Osteoporosis DrugsAlthough there is no known cure for osteoporosis, there are several medications available to both prevent and treat this potentially disabling condition. There are several different types of osteoporosis drugs, including:
- Estrogen therapy (ET) and hormone therapy (HT)
- Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS)
- Calcitonin analogues
- Parathyroid hormone analogues
- Vitamins and minerals.
Bisphosphonates are some of the most commonly used drugs for osteoporosis. They work by slowing the breakdown of bone. These medications can be very effective, but they can also be inconvenient to take. Because they can cause irritation and damage to the esophagus, you must stay upright for a certain period of time after each dose (usually 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the medication).
Also, because they interact with many foods and medications, you must take them with plain water on an empty stomach, and you cannot eat or drink anything other than plain water for a while after each dose (usually an hour).
Bisphosphonate drugs approved for osteoporosis treatment include:
- Alendronate (Fosamax®, Fosamax Plus D™)
- Ibandronate (Boniva®)
- Risedronate (Actonel®, Actonel With Calcium®)