Osteoporosis Medications: Hormones, SERMs, and Calcitonin


 

Depending on your needs, your provider may prescribe more than one medication to prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy can ease postmenopausal symptoms. It may also be prescribed to help preserve bone density. Hormones may be in pill or skin patch form.

Benefits may include:

  • Reducing bone loss
  • Increasing bone density in the hip and spine

Side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Breakthrough bleeding, bloating, and weight gain
  • Breast tenderness
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of blood clots in the legs and of certain cancers

SERMs

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are taken as pills.

 Benefits may include:

  • Increasing bone density in the hip and spine
  • Preventing bone loss
  • Reducing risk of spinal fracture

Side effects may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Leg cramps
  • Increased risk of blood clots in the legs

Calcitonin

Calcitonin is a nasal spray and can be an alternative to the other medications. It may not be as effective and does not prevent osteoporosis.

 Benefits may include:

  • Slowing bone loss
  • Increasing bone density in the spine

Side effects may include:

  • Swelling, tenderness, or irritation inside the nose
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
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