Dr. Siris explains when osteoporosis is treated with medication.
If someone has clear cut osteoporosis, they’ve had a fracture or they have low bone mass that’s called osteoporosis or if the bone density is low but your risk for fracture is high because of other risk factors, we have a number of drugs and these include the following:
First of all, if a woman is menopausal and chooses to take estrogen for some other reason, while she is on it that will protect her bones. Alternatives to estrogen which is what most women will choose include a group of drugs called bisphosphonates and there are a number of brands of bisphosphonates that are effective. One is called Fosamax, one is called Actonel, the third is called Boniva and the fourth is called Reclast. Three of these are given in pill form, two of these can be given intravenously, different time intervals for taking these medicines.
There is another drug called Evista which is something that talks to the estrogen receptors in the body but it’s not estrogen and Evista will protect bone and also reduce the risk of breast cancer. All of these drugs work by blocking the bone loss that would otherwise occur.
There’s another drug called Forteo and Forteo is a daily injection which actually makes more bone. It has a different mechanism of action. The final drug is something called Neocalcium, which is a nasal spray and that also is a drug that is sometimes used, not all that often, as a way of preventing bone loss.
About Dr. Ethel Siris, M.D.:
Dr. Ethel S. Siris is the Director at the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center, Columbia University, is the Madeline C. Stabile Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, and is the immediate past-President for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. She is board certified in endocrinology and internal medicine, focusing on osteoporosis, metabolic bone disease, and bone and mineral metabolism.