Healthy bones continuously break down and rebuild throughout your life. As you age, bones break down more quickly, especially after menopause. Osteoporosis occurs when bone rebuilding cannot keep pace with breakdown. This causes them to deteriorate, weaken, and become more susceptible to breaks and fractures. However, with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, you can help protect and strengthen your bones. Let’s look at the treatment options when you have osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Treatment Options
Thanks to clinical research breakthroughs, there are now many more osteoporosis treatment options than ever before. At the same time, there is no single treatment approach that works for everyone. Each plan accounts for specific fracture risk (co-existing medical conditions, and any current medications).
Medications used to manage osteoporosis fall into two broad categories: ones that help reduce bone loss and those that stimulate bone growth.
Reduce Bone Loss:
- Bisphosphonates are the most common osteoporosis treatment and help prevent the loss of bone mass. They include:
- Alendronate (Fosamax), a weekly pill
- Risedronate (Actonel), a weekly or monthly pill
- Ibandronate (Boniva), a monthly pill or quarterly infusion
- Zoledronic acid (Reclast), an annual infusion
- Hormone therapies can help maintain bone density.
- estrogen is an excellent treatment for younger women with low estrogen and for menopausal women
- Raloxifene (Evista)
- This medication is a selective estrogen receptor that acts in a similar fashion to estrogen on the bone.
- Denosumab (Prolia), administered as an every six month injection and reduces bone reabsorption.
- Calcitonin salmon (Fortical and Miacalcin), a nasal spray that has a mild effect on bone reabsorption.
Stimulate New Bone Growth:
- Teriparatide (Forteo)
- This drug is taken by injection and stimulates bone growth.
- Romosozumab (Evenity)
- The FDA approved it in April of 2019 to treat women who have gone through menopause and are at a high risk of having fractures.
- It is given in two injections under the skin (in the same sitting) once a month for 12 months or less and increases new bone formation.
- Abaloparatide (Tymlos)
- This medication is similar to parathyroid hormone and helps speed up the bone-building process. You can take it for only two years, which a different osteoporosis medication will follow.
Lifestyle Changes for Bone Health
In addition to the various treatment options available, healthier lifestyle changes can further support reducing bone loss and preventing fractures:
- Weight-bearing physical activity and exercises that improve balance and posture, strengthen bones, and reduce the risk of a fracture.
- Eat a healthy diet that promotes bone health. It should be rich in calcium, vitamin D, protein, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc.
- Smoking cigarettes speeds up bone loss, so quitting is vital to bone health.
- If you drink alcohol, use only l in moderation. That means up to one drink a day for a woman.
- Prevent falls by wearing low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles. Make your home safer by identifying slippery surfaces and trip hazards, and grab bars to help get in and out of showers and bed.
Menopause significantly speeds bone loss, increasing the risk for osteoporosis. It is estimated that up to 20% of bone loss can happen during or after menopause, making bone loss prevention an important concern for menopausal and post-menopausal women. Though menopause is inevitable, potential new options are under evaluation in clinical research studies for post-menopausal osteoporosis.
Seattle Clinical Research Center is looking for post-menopausal women to join our enrolling osteoporosis studies. Get involved today! Call us at (206) 522-3330, or learn more on our website.