Monitoring Osteoporosis Therapy

The controversy of bone density testing in patients already taking osteoporosis medication

The American Medical Association and other reputable medical organizations have determined that repeat bone density testing (DXA scans) is NOT indicated in monitoring osteoporosis treatment or prevention on a routine basis. It is scientifically premature to measure bone density as a way of monitoring the effectiveness of osteoporosis drugs. Doctors simply do not know how to use these repeat bone density measurements during therapy. A few of the most important reasons are:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American College of Physicians now recommend against menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen or estrogen and progesterone


For all of these reasons, as surprising as it may sound to many people (and even some doctors), rechecking bone density is not at all like checking blood pressure during treatment of high blood pressure. Routine bone density testing during treatment is unlikely to be helpful. In the future, however, if ongoing research brings new technology or new therapies, testing decisions will clearly change.

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