Osteoporosis FAQs

Medications That Help Prevent Osteoporosis


Drug Type Bisphosphonate
Brand Name Fosamax®
How It Works Inhibits the cells in the skeleton that break down bone; decreases bone loss and allows bone mass to increase
Side Effects Gastrointestinal problems: musculoskeletal pain and/or headache


Drug Type Selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM)
Brand Name Evista®
How It Works Binds to the same receptor in bone as estrogen binds, and so mimics estrogen’s beneficial effects on bone density
Side Effects Hot flashes, leg cramps


Drug Type Calcitonin
Brand Name Miacalcin®
How It Works Prescription nasal spray for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in women more than 5 years after menopause for which estrogens are not an option
Side Effects Nasal symptoms (runny nose, crusting, nosebleed, etc.), back and/or joint pain, and headache

Parathyroid Hormone

Drug Type Teriparatide (PTH 1-34)
Brand Name Fortéo®
How It Works Teriparatide is a man-made form of the active part of a natural hormone that is injected by the patient. It works by increasing bone mass and strength which decreases the chance of getting a fracture
Side Effects Dizziness, leg cramps, angina, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, constipation, sluggishness, angina