Osteoporosis is a condition that causes low bone density, which leads to broken bone often in the forearm, hip, spine, or wrist. Even though this does not sound as serious as cardiovascular issues or cancer, they can cause reduced mobility, pain, dependence on others, depression, and in some cases, premature death. Besides, this is a disease that progresses over time, and there is no permanent cure. That said, some treatments can slow down the loss of bone density and thereby protect against fractures. In this article, we will look at common osteoporosis drugs.
Bisphosphonates For Slow Bone Loss
Bisphosphonates are a class of osteoporosis drugs that work by reducing the activity of osteoclasts; osteoclasts are a type of bone cell that breaks down the bone. These drugs have a long positive track record as they reduce the risk of osteoporotic fracture by over 60 percent. Because of this, they are preferred by many doctors.
Some of the side effects of bisphosphonate drugs are muscle, joint, or bone pain, heartburn, nausea, and difficulty swallowing. Besides, two of the rare side effects due to this drug are jaw and atypical femoral fracture. Finally, the adverse side effect of osteonecrosis of the jaw is mostly reported for bisphosphonate drugs pamidronate and recast. But this risk can be minimized by getting a dental exam before the bisphosphonate therapy, good dental hygiene, and avoiding invasive dental procedures.
Parathyroid Hormone For Building Up New Bone
Parathyroid hormone drugs for osteoporosis like Tymlos (abaloparatide) and Forteo (teriparatide) are used for helping the body build new bone. They are self-administered by patients intravenously daily for a period ranging from 18 months to 2 years. These drugs are used for those who are losing bone or having fractures on bisphosphonate or with multiple fractures or having severe osteoporosis. Above all, the advantage of the parathyroid hormone drugs is that they can potentially reverse the loss in bone density, and this results in significantly fewer vertebral fractures. However, they are taken for a maximum of 2 years because their long-term safety is still unclear.
Human Monoclonal Antibodies
There are two human monoclonal antibodies osteoporosis drugs, and they are Prolia (denosumab) and Evenity (romosozumab). Prolia is administered by injection every six months, and it works by inhibiting osteoclast maturation. As a result, bone degradation is reduced, which slows down the progress of the disease. Evenity is a new drug that is a breakthrough in osteoporosis treatment. This is because it decreases loss in bone density and helps to build new bones. That said, the drug can result in an increased risk for heart problems.
On a final note, the choice of osteoporosis drugs depends on the severity of osteoporosis and the presence of other complications.