Forteo for Osteoporosis

Teriparatide (Forteo) is a synthetic version of the human parathyroid hormone, which helps to regulate calcium metabolism. It promotes the growth of new bone, while other osteoporosis medications improve bone density by inhibiting bone resorption, or breakdown. It is the only osteoporosis medicine approved by the FDA that rebuilds bone. Forteo should be used only in men with osteoporosis and postmenopausal women.

How is Forteo Taken?

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Teriparatide (Forteo) is self-injected into the skin. Because long-term safety is not yet established, it is only FDA-approved for 24 months of use. It reduces spine fractures in women with known osteoporosis, and evidence also exists that it reduces hip fractures.

Who Should Take Forteo?

Forteo is indicated for treatment of:

High risk for fracture,is defined as a history of osteoporotic fracture, multiple risk factors for fracture, or patients who have failed or are intolerant to other available osteoporosis therapy
Forteo is not used to prevent osteoporosis or to treat mild cases.

What Are the Side Effects of Forteo?

Forteo’s side effects may include:

Other side effects are also possible. Tell your doctor if you think Forteo is having a bad effect on your well-being.If bisphosphonates don’t work for you, denosumab (Prolia, Xgeva) is another option. If you’re at high risk for fractures, this may work for you. It strengthens bones throughout the body. It’s a twice-yearly injection.

Older Drugs

Calcitonin drugs, like Miacalcin and Fortical, have been around since the 1980s. They help prevent bone loss and reduce spinal fractures, but don’t seem to do much in other parts of the body. You can take it as a daily nasal spray or by injection. Most doctors don’t consider these drugs a first option in treating the disease because they are not as effective as other treatments and they may increase risk of certain cancers.


There are many different options for treatment and prevention, whether you already have the disease or are at high risk for it. If one drug doesn’t work well for you, another may. Talk with your doctor about your choices.

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