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The Health Centre

What Can I Do for My Osteoporosis?

Treating osteoporosis means stopping the bone loss and rebuilding bone to prevent breaks. Diet and exercise can help make your bones stronger. But they may not be enough if you have lost a lot of bone density. There are also several medicines to think about. Some will slow your bone loss, and others can help rebuild bone. Talk with your doctor to see if one of these might work for you:

  • Bisphosphonates. These medicines slow the breakdown of bone and increase bone density. They can make it less likely that you will break a bone, most of all in your spine, hip, or wrist. Side effects may include nausea, heartburn, and stomach pain. A few people have muscle, bone, or joint pain while using these medicines. These drugs must be taken in a certain way—when you first get up, before you have eaten, and with a full glass of water. You should not lie down, eat, or drink for at least one-half hour after taking the drug. Even if you follow the directions closely, these drugs can cause serious digestive problems, so be aware of any side effects. These pills are available in once-daily, once-a-week, and once-a-month versions.

  • Raloxifene. This drug is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis. It is a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator). It prevents bone loss and spine fractures but may cause hot flashes or increase the risk of blood clots in some women.

  • Estrogen. Doctors sometimes prescribe this female hormone around the time of menopause to treat symptoms like hot flashes or vaginal dryness. Estrogen also slows bone loss and increases bone mass in your spine and hip, so women can use it to prevent or treat osteoporosis. But, estrogen use is thought to be risky for some women. Talk to your doctor. Ask about the benefits, risks, and side effects, as well as other possible treatments for you.

  • Calcitonin. This hormone increases bone mass in your spine and can lessen the pain of fractures already there. It comes in two forms—a shot or nasal spray. The shot may cause an allergic reaction and has some side effects like nausea, diarrhoea, or redness in your face, ears, hands, or feet. The only side effect of the nasal spray is a runny nose in some people. Calcitonin is most useful for women who are 5 years past menopause.

  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH). Also called teriparatide, this shot is given daily for up to two years to postmenopausal women and men who are at high risk for broken bones. It improves bone density in the spine and hip. Common side effects include nausea, dizziness, and leg cramps.

Source: National Institute on Aging


Part 1: Osteoporosis - The Bone Thief

Part 2: Osteoporosis - How Can I Keep My Bones Strong?

Part 3: What Can I Do About My Osteoporosis?

Part 4: How Can I Keep From Falling?

Part 5: Men and Osteoporosis





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