Getting the best out of your medication

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak. If you have osteoporosis, your bones can break more easily than expected. Everyday tasks like bending down, even coughing, or sneezing can lead to a life-changing break. Medications are available for those with osteoporosis and aid the strengthening of bones.

The most suitable course of medication for you will depend on your DXA scan results of your spine and hips, the causes of your bone loss, the risk of a break or if you have already broken bones (fractured), your age, gender, and most importantly your medical history.

Some people are more at risk of developing or having undiagnosed osteoporosis than others. Older women who have gone through menopause are the highest risk group.

For you to get the most benefit from your Osteoporosis medication, it is very important that you follow the instructions on how and when to have your treatment.

NOTE; It is essential during Covid that you continue with your Osteoporosis treatment, as high-stress levels cause bone loss. If for whatever reason you do not continue with your Osteoporosis treatment, you are placing yourself at high risk to break bones and possibly lose your independence.

Vitamin D supplements & Calcium

To ensure you get enough calcium, your Doctor may prescribe calcium or calcium and vitamin D supplements or just a vitamin D supplement, if you cannot get the recommended amounts from food. Most people can get their calcium from food, very few foods contain Vitamin d and due to the lack of sunshine in Ireland, there are not many days, a person will get their recommended vitamin D from being outside in the sunlight. If you are frail or housebound and cannot get enough from food, speak to your doctor regarding the possibility of a vitamin D supplement.

Some of these medications include: 

 

HRT – Estrogen/Hormone Therapy

There are multiple brands available. There is oestrogen replacement for women going through menopause which helps to maintain bone density and reduce fracture rates for the time they are on the treatment. Estrogen therapy and estrogen with progesterone hormone therapy are approved for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women provided there are no contraindications. They are usually recommended for post-menopausal symptoms to help improve the person’s quality of life. They may also be prescribed for premenopausal women who have amenorrhea and low levels of oestrogen.

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)

The most common brand name is Evista®. SERMs work in a similar way to oestrogen on bone, by preventing bone loss in postmenopausal women who do not have hot flushes and provided there are no other contraindications.

Rank Ligand Inhibitors

Denosumab, the brand name is Prolia. It works by reducing bone loss which reduces the person’s risk of fracturing (breaking bones).

Bisphosphonates, which are also known as Antiresorptive medications

These are non-hormonal drugs which help maintain bone density and prevent further bone loss. NOTE: you can only take bisphosphonates for a maximum of 5 years, NOT 5 years on each one.

The following are a list of bisphosphonates:

  • Boniva® Can be given in tablet monthly
  • Boniva® Can be given by IV four times a year
  • Fosamax® – Can be given in tablet which is taken once weekly
  • Fosamax® plus D – Fosamax is a tablet which is taken weekly and has Vitamin D in it.
  • Fosavance 5600 tablet which is taken once weekly
  • Actonel® – This is a tablet that can be daily /weekly
  • Actonel® with Calcium. Actonel Combi- Actonel is a tablet is taken weekly and Calcium is taken the other 6 days
  • Actonel plus Calcium & vitamin D, Actonel tablet is taken once weekly and a sachet the other 6 days
  • Aclasta ® is a once-a-year IV Osteoporosis treatment.

Parathyroid Hormone – (PTH)

This is a bone forming agent, that stimulates the formation of new bone.

  • Forsteo is the most common brand name, and it is given as a daily injection for up to 24 months

Kyphoplasty

This is a surgical treatment that involves a balloon being placed within the fractured vertebrae (Broken bone in the back), followed by a “bone cement” being injected into the balloon. It should only be done to help to reduce pain, not to restore height.

Vertebroplasty

This is a non-surgical treatment that involves a needle with “bone cement” in it, inserted through the skin into the fractured body of the vertebrae. It should only be done to help to reduce pain, not to restore height.

If you are concerned about your risk of developing osteoporosis, please contact us today.

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