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Monday, May 22, 2017

Updated Guidelines for Osteoporosis Medications

If you’re one of the estimated 54 million Americans suffering from osteoporosis (a condition that weakens bone density), you’ll want to know about new guidelines just issued on some of the most widely prescribed medications.

The journal Annals of Internal Medicine recently published an update on the American College of Physicians’ widely followed recommendations from 2008, specifically addressing the previous belief that certain types of osteoporosis medications carry harmful risks including atrial fibrillation and additional joint pain.

Research now shows the risks are minimal and that taking these medications to protect bones over the long-term are extremely beneficial. As the typical age of someone suffering from osteoporosis is over 50 years, and as your risk for a traumatic fall, ending in broken bones, fractures, and even death, increases as you get older, strong bones are essential. 

The new advisory suggests doctors continue to prescribe bisphosphonates or denosumab medications for at least five years following an initial diagnosis, especially for women. (Many patients tend to go off their medications after a short while if they haven’t experienced a recent injury.)

Bisphosphonates help decrease the resorption, or breakdown, of older bones. Common brands of bisphosphonates include Fosomax, Reclast, and Zometa

Denosumab drugs are engineered antibodies designed to combat the onset and early effects of osteoporosis, prescribed under the Prolia and Xgeva brands.

In addition, the advisory panel suggested avoiding estrogen replacement therapy for women in favor of other treatments that offer greater bone health benefits and less unpleasant side effects.

To help alleviate your symptoms of osteoporosis, we recommend taking your medications as prescribed by your orthopedist, and also adopting a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Use supplements as directed, and exercise regularly to keep muscles and joints in good shape.

If you have questions about your osteoporosis medication, or would like to schedule a bone density exam with one of our specialists, please contact us for an appointment.

(Adapted from CNN-Health)

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