Osteoporosis Treatments and Medication Options

By on May 26, 2015
Osteoporosis Treatments

May is Osteoporosis Awareness month. Prevention is the preferred method to battling osteoporosis, and preventative measures can be taken even for women who already have initial signs of osteoporosis (see the infographic below). But it’s also important to talk about treatment options.

Osteoporosis Treatments and Medications

There are two types of Osteoporosis medications: ones that slow bone loss or thinning, and ones that help to increase bone formation. Some medications do both.

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Risedronate – which is commonly prescribed as Actonel – slows bone loss and increases bone density, and thereby decreases the risk of spinal and non-spinal fractures by 35-40%. It is also effective as a prevention medication. Note that this medication is supposed to be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach with just water, and should be taken thirty minutes before any food is consumed.

Ibandronate sodium, commonly prescribed as Boniva, is also used to treat and prevent osteoporosis. It is taken once per month in tablet form or it can also be administered intravenously. Although the FDA has approved a daily dose form of Boniva, it has yet to be available in U.S. markets.

Alendronate sodium is also a commonly prescribed medication for osteoporosis treatment and prevention, usually as Fosamax. Fosamax increases bone density and slows or reduces bone loss, and also reduces the risk of spine, hip and other bone fractures and injuries by 50%. IT can be taken daily or weekly.

There are other treatments that either target specific areas, such as the spine or hip areas, that are typically administered intravenously every six months to once a year, such as Reclast (Zoledronic Acid) Prolia (Denosumab), which is specially administered to women being treated for breast cancer, and several other osteoporosis treatment medications.

Hormone therapy (SERMs) is also an option, while not typically used as a first method of treatment, can help reproduce the bone-preserving effect of estrogen.


Osteoporosis can sometimes cause the need for replacements, such as hip or knee replacements. Unfortunately, there has been a recent recall on the Zimmer Persona Tibial Plate, used in knee replacement surgeries.  Complications with this piece of the device have led to many serious problems, even sending some people back for a second surgery.

Lifestyle and Homeopathic Approaches

There are also physical and life changes that you can take to help treat osteoporosis. Adding calcium and vitamin D-rich foods to your diet is one way. Foods that contain high amounts of these nutrients are dairy products, dark green veggies. For those over 50, you should be ingesting 1200 mgs of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily.

Exercise is also crucial to osteoporosis treatment. Physical activity helps slow age-related bone loss. For example, strength training helps fortify the bones in your upper arms and back, and low-impact cardio, such as stair-steppers, elliptical machines and similar equipment help to strengthen the bones in your legs and lower body. Free weights , walking/jogging, swimming and aerobics are also fantastic ways to battle the progression of osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, there is no actual cure for osteoporosis – The goal of treatment is to strengthen and protect the bones, and perhaps simultaneously reduce fractures and slow bone loss, and in some cases, partially restore bone loss. But thus far, there is no medication that can completely reverse the affects of osteoporosis.

Even for those of us who may already have some bone loss or beginning stages of osteoporosis, preventative measures and lifestyle changes can still be implemented to prevent further bone loss. Exercise, healthy eating, and talking to your doctor about possible medication treatments are all effective ways you can personally take control of your bones – and your body.

M.E. Simpson is a freelance writer and content marketing professional, who writes for numerous online and print publications. She currently resides in south-central PA and enjoys Zumba and playing the piano.

Osteoporosis Treatments and Medication Options

By M. Simpson –

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Osteoporosis Treatments and Medication Options