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How is osteoporosis treated?

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Quick Answer

Common treatments for osteoporosis include bisphosphonates, hormone-related therapy and several alternative medications, as stated by the Mayo Clinic. For patients with a lower risk of breaking a bone within 10 years, treatment may instead focus on lifestyle factors such as avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking and preventing falls.

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How is osteoporosis treated?
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Full Answer

Bisphosphonates such as ibandronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid and alendronate are the most commonly prescribed medications for male and female patients who have a high risk of fracture, according to the Mayo Clinic. Side effects may include difficulty swallowing, stomach upset and abdominal pain. Female patients may benefit from estrogen therapy, especially if they are experiencing post-menopausal symptoms. Raloxifene is an alternative hormone treatment that delivers the same benefits of estrogen without increasing the risk of breast cancer. For men, testosterone replacement therapy may help restore bone density.

If conventional osteoporosis medications are not effective or are not well-tolerated by the patient, the doctor may suggest teriparatide or denosumab, according to the Mayo Clinic. Both medications are injected under the skin. To avoid breaking bones, patients should keep the home's floors free of cords and rugs that may lead to falls, and they should wear shoes with non-slip soles. Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day may reduce the rate of bone formation, and intoxication may increase the risk of falling.

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