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Let’s talk about the treatment of osteoporosis

For many, the first sign of osteoporosis is a fracture. For others, taking action early can prevent the first fracture. So if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, or tests show you are at higher risk of breaking a bone, your doctor can prescribe you a medicine that will help increase your bone strength.

You can treat osteoporosis with a combination of prescription medicine and lifestyle changes.

How do you treat osteoporosis?

You can treat osteoporosis with a combination of prescription medicine and lifestyle changes. The medication will help to strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of future fractures.1-4 Your doctor will select a medicine depending on your risk profile. This means they will assess your risk of certain types of fractures, look at other medical conditions you may have and consider any other medication you are currently taking.3 There are a few different types of osteoporosis medication – tablets, injections or infusions. Depending on what kind, they can be taken every day, once a month or even one to two times a year.4

How do osteoporosis medicines work?

Bone is a living, growing tissue and is always being ‘turned over’. This means that new bone is formed while the body breaks down older bone. This is a natural process, which occurs slowly and gradually over time. But if you have osteoporosis, essentially what happens is that more bone is lost than is made, making your bones weaker and more brittle. Osteoporosis medicines work in different ways depending on the type you have been prescribed. Most work by making osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone) less active. This allows a gradual increase in your bone strength over time.

It is important to remember that osteoporosis is a chronic condition, and your medication may need to be taken for many years. Osteoporosis medications have been shown to reduce the risk of different fracture types including vertebral (back), hip, leg and wrist fractures by 15 to 70% depending on the medication and the type of fracture.1,2 Take your prescription osteoporosis medication as directed by your doctor. Using the right medicine in the appropriate way is crucial to maintaining strong bones. Don't stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.

Alongside medication, what else can I do to help myself?

  • Eat well and get plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
    These nutrients work together to keep bones strong. Your doctor may also recommend taking calcium and vitamin D supplements regularly.
  • Exercise regularly to build stronger bones.
    Exercise helps to improve your strength, coordination and balance. This also helps to prevent falls and is great for rehabilitation after a fracture, under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
  • Limit alcohol and avoid smoking.
    Drinking heavily can reduce bone building and can also increase your risk of a fall. Aside from the other health risks, smoking makes it harder for your bones to absorb calcium.
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References

  1. Kanis JA, et al. Osteoporos Int 2013;24:23–57.
  2. Black DM, et al. N Engl J Med 2007;356:1809–22.
  3. International Osteoporosis Foundation and Osteoporosis Australia. Love your bones: Protect your future. 2016. www.osteoporosis.org.au.
  4. Osteoporosis Australia. What you need to know about Osteoporosis. Consumer guide. 2017. www.osteoporosis.org.au.

 

For further information talk to your doctor.
Disease education message by Amgen Australia. 

Amgen Australia, Level 7, 123 Epping Road, North Ryde NSW 2113. ABN 31 051 057 428. www.amgen.com.au. 

AU-10890 Approved April 2019