Find the Osteoporosis Treatment that’s Right for You

What you and your doctor will think about when choosing one

By
Health Monitor Staff

Whether you’re already taking an osteoporosis medication or about to start one, you and your healthcare provider may consider these issues:

  1. Your age. 
    Some drugs may be more appropriate for older postmenopausal women, while others may be suitable for younger people. 
     
  2. Your gender.
    Some medications are for women only.
     
  3. The severity of your osteoporosis.
    If you have severe bone loss or have had a break, you may need special meds.
     
  4. Medications you’ve already tried.
    Your healthcare provider may suggest a new drug if you’ve been taking one for a while, you’ve had unwanted side effects or you are not responding to treatment.
     
  5. Your lifestyle.
    Let your healthcare provider know if you prefer to take a medication daily, weekly or just once or twice a year. Depending on the treatment your healthcare provider thinks is right for you, you may take a pill, liquid, IV or nasal spray or injection.
     
  6. Your menopause status.
    Generally, osteoporosis medication benefits women in menopause (who are no longer menstruating). There are exceptions: Younger, pre-menopausal women who have been taking steroids for a long time—which can result in bone loss—or who have broken a bone due to low bone density may need medication.
     
  7. Your other health issues.
    Having other health concerns or taking other drugs may limit which osteoporosis medications are right for you. If you have had breast cancer, for example, you should not take estrogen.
     
  8. Your financial needs.
    If cost is a concern, ask your healthcare provider about patient-assistance programs, which can help make drugs more affordable.

 If you already have osteoporosis

…follow the lifestyle changes and medication plan your healthcare provider has prescribed, and remember these keys:

  1. Stay on top of appointments: Regular visits help monitor your progress and ensure your treatment is on track.

  2. Get recommended screenings: Don’t skip exams—they’re the best way to ensure your therapy is working.

  3. Make bone-healthy choices a habit: Take the stairs, have yogurt for breakfast—try to make bone-friendly decisions in your everyday life.

 

Published
February 2013