What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment cannot eliminate osteoporosis. Certain medicines are currently
approved by the FDA for treatment of
osteoporosis. These medicines may slow or stop bone loss, increase bone
and help prevent bone
fractures. They include the following:
biphosphonates, specifically alendronate and risedronate
estrogen or hormone replacement
therapy for women
selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs, specifically
Parathyroid hormone, on the other hand, works by
increasing bone mass rather than slowing bone loss. It is given as an injection
under the skin each day. At this time, the FDA has not approved parathyroid
hormone for the treatment of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that it may help
prevent hip and spine fractures. Research on its effectiveness and safety
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Bisphosphonates can cause nausea, stomach irritation, and heartburn if not taken
exactly as prescribed. SERMs can cause leg cramps, hot flashes, and occasional blood clots. HRT can
cause bloating, breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding, and rarely, blood clots.
Calcitonin may cause runny nose,
nausea, and flushing. Parathyroid hormone can cause nausea, headache,
dizziness, and leg cramps.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
After a person develops osteoporosis, treatment is lifelong. The
home should be made safe to prevent accidents. Ways to increase safety include
Don't lift heavy objects.
Don't use throw rugs on floors.
Keep all areas safe, well-lit, and uncluttered to prevent falls.
Take care with icy, wet, or slippery surfaces.
Use a cane if needed.
Use nonskid mats in the shower and bathtub.
Use proper back support and lifting methods.
Wear comfortable shoes that have nonslip soles.
Wear undergarments that have a protective pad around the hips to
prevent hip fractures.
Intriguing new research done in older individuals with
arthritis found that brisk walking or weight training improved balance in those
individuals. Improved balance could very well help individuals with
osteoporosis avoid hip
fractures and wrist
fractures from falls.
How is the condition monitored?
Women on HRT should have yearly physicals and pelvic examinations,
mammograms, and PAP smears. Repeat DEXA bone scans may be performed
yearly to see the effect of treatment on bone density. Sometimes urine tests
may be done to look at bone markers every 3 months during the initial 6 to 12
months of beginning a new treatment. Any new or worsening symptoms should be
reported to the healthcare provider.