New Osteoporosis Medications
In the U.S. about one out of every two women will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis. There are approximately ten million Americans with osteoporosis and eighty percent of them are women. When women between the ages of twenty to eighty will lose a third of their bone mineral density in their hips. Bones continually break down and rebuild but as we age the bones can no longer rebuild fast enough. When men reach sixty five to seventy years of age they are losing bone as fast as women.
More women get osteoporosis because:
- Women tend to have thinner, smaller bones than men
- As women age they produce less estrogen, which normally protects women from bone loss after menopause
- Over twenty percent of older women who are Causacian are at a higher risk as many do not tolerate milk products, eat an unhealthy diet or smoke
- Over fifty percent of women have low bone mass (the bones are weaker but there is no osteoporosis)
What is Osteoporosis and Who Gets It?
Osteoporosis causes the bones to become brittle and weak, which increases the risk of a bone fracture. Osteoporosis occurs silently, progressively and quite often there is no sign until a bone break occurs. As a woman ages, particularly after menopause, the bones will break down faster, and the body cannot keep pace with the deterioration, so the bones become weaker. After menopause a woman no longer produces estrogen, which is another reason for weak and brittle bones.
Approximately fifteen percent of Caucasian women are lactose intolerant and that makes getting a healthy amount of calcium difficult. Five percent of African American women over fifty years of age are estimated to have osteoporosis. Asan women over the age of fifty have approximately a twenty percent bone loss. Ten percent of Latinos have bone loss as well. Norway has one of the highest osteoporosis diagnosis rates per capita for women. Throughout Europe forty percent of women and fifteen to thirty percent of men will have a fragility fracture in their lifetime.
Healthy Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is important. Eating a healthy balanced meal will help keep your bones healthier. If you cannot drink enough milk, be sure to get outside in the sun every day. It is also possible to take a calcium and vitamin D supplement if you know you are not getting them in your diet.
Exercise will help your bones stay strong, so start the exercise habit when you are young and be consistent. Do not smoke or drink alcohol. Another vitamin that helps osteoporosis is vitamin K2.
Osteoporosis Exercises for Hip Strengthening
The way to know about the health of someone’s bones is to do a bone density study. This test result shows a Z-score and a T-score. The T-score is used to diagnose osteoporosis in the postmenopausal woman and for men that are age 50 or more. This score is not for the premenopausal woman.
The Z-score will compare your bone density score to a normal score for a person that is your age. A Z-score is not used for diagnosis of osteoporosis in premenopausal women but it does provide important information. A second bone density test should be completed one or two years after the first bone density test to determine if the peak bone mass is staying the same.
Your bone density score is compared to what is normal for your age. If the Z-score is -2.0 or lower then it is below what is expected for your age.
If the Z-score is normal but if you have had a fractured bone from a minor injury then your doctor may diagnose you with osteoporosis as some women with a normal bone density score still break bones easily, so they do have osteoporosis.
Medications for Osteoporosis
There are fewer medicines available for premenopausal women with osteoporosis. If women have taken steroid medicines for a long time then there are three osteoporosis medications approved for the treatment of osteoporosis in some cases.
There are some medications that typically slow the breakdown of bones, so the bones stay healthier.
The most recent new medication approved by the FDA is a dual-acting drug (romosozumab) that is giving patients more control in preventing fractures. Another new medication is Abaloparatide (Tymlos). It also has the potential to rebuild bones. Apparently these drugs are less likely to cause an excess of calcium but still maintain the strength of the bones.
Denosumab (Prolia, Xgeva) are other newer medications that will reduce the probability of fractures in women and men.
Other typical medications for osteoporosis treatment are bisphosphonates include:
- Alendronate (Fosamax)
- Risedronate (Actonel)
- Ibandronate (Boniva)
- Zoledronic acid (Reclast)
- Raloxifene (Evista)
The use of estrogen is sometimes a cause for concern due to side effects. The use of estrogen should be using the lowest possible dosage to prevent side effects. Sometimes menopausal symptoms are the consideration to weigh the benefits of improved bone health. Talk to your physician about any medication that is being considered and ask about possible side effects
Teriparatide (Forteo) is a medication for men and postmenopausal women who have a very low bone density, those who have had fractures or those whose osteoporosis is caused by steroid medication. This medication means an injection every morning. It is taken for two years only once in a lifetime. It has the potential to rebuild bones. I took this medication and improved by nine percent in the first year and in two weeks I will have a second bone density to determine where I am now.
Bisphosphonates for the Treatment of Osteoporosis
When you are young it is important to eat healthy and exercise. If you have some autoimmune disease, like lupus, then long term steroid use can be an issue. When you have taken any cortisone over a long period of time bone density testing is imperative. It is important to treat bone density issues while you are younger when possible.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Pamela Oglesby