Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to weaken and become fragile. It affects more than 40 million people in the U.S., mostly women. In fact, up to half of women (and about one-quarter of men) over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. The disease can affect any bones in the body, but bone breaks are most likely to occur in the hip, wrist and spine. Osteoporosis is a “silent disease,” so many patients don’t know they have it until they break a bone or have a collapsed vertebra in their spine.
Several things can increase a person’s chances of getting osteoporosis:
- Aging, as the bones become thinner and weaker as we get older.
- A small, thin-boned frame in women.
- Low estrogen levels (for women) or low testosterone levels (for men).
- A diet low in calcium or vitamin D (which can cause increased bone loss).
- A sedentary (not active) lifestyle, excessive drinking, or smoking.
Osteoporosis usually develops over time. A bone density test helps look for bone loss. This test is painless and uses x-rays to measure how much calcium and other minerals are in your bones, which can help predict your chances of bone breakage. You may get regular bone density tests to check for increased bone loss, or to see if the treatment you are getting is working.
Therapy Support & Medications
Patients with osteoporosis usually do not have any symptoms; therefore, they need to understand the reasons for their treatment and the importance of staying on therapy according to their doctor's instructions. The goals of osteoporosis treatment are to:
- Control pain from the disease,
- Slow down or stop bone loss, and
- Prevent bone fractures.
There are several different treatments for osteoporosis, including lifestyle changes and medication. Lifestyle changes include getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and reducing your chances of falling. A variety of medications are available to manage osteoporosis. The most frequently prescribed medications include:*
These medications are broken into several categories, including:
- Bisphosphonates, which help prevent the loss of bone mass. They are used both to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Some bisphosphonates are taken orally (by mouth) once a week or once a month. They include alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), and risedronate (Actonel). Others are given through your vein (intravenously or IV), such as Boniva or zoledronic acid (Reclast). Boniva is given every three months, and Reclast is given once a year. If you cannot take any of these medications or they are not working, denosumab (Prolia) may be given as an injection (shot) under your skin every six months. Bisphosphonate medications can only be given if you are also taking in enough calcium and vitamin D.
- Calcitonin, which helps slow bone loss and relieve bone pain. It is given daily as a nose spray (Miacalcin), or every other day as an injection (Calcimar, Miacalcin) under your skin or in the muscle.
- Teriparatide (Forteo), which helps form new bone. It is given by daily injection under the skin using a special device that comes with the medication.
- Raloxifene (Evista), which also helps form new bone. It is taken by mouth every day.
Your Partner in Therapeutic Success
CoramRx helps patients succeed with their treatments. Our pharmacy staff will call you a week before each scheduled refill date. During these calls, you will be asked about any side effects you may be having, and how well the medicine is working for you.
The organizations listed below offer a variety of services and resources for consumers and caregivers. Please note that some organizations may charge a fee for access to services. This listing is not an endorsement of these organizations, or information they may disseminate. We strongly suggest you discuss any information you receive from these organizations with a qualified professional before making any changes in your healthcare, insurance coverage or home care provider.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease — Supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
National Institute on Aging — One of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health; leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life.
National Osteoporosis Foundation — The leading consumer and community-focused health organization dedicated to the prevention of osteoporosis and broken bones, the promotion of strong bones for life, and the reduction of human suffering through programs of public and clinician awareness, education, advocacy and research.
Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease National Research Center — Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; provides patients, health professionals, and the public with an important link to resources and information on metabolic bone diseases includin
www.womenshealth.gov — The site of the Office on Women's Health (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), which works to improve the health and sense of well-being of all U.S. women and girls.
FDA: Disposing of Unused Medication — Provides government guidelines for disposing of unused medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) worked with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop the first consumer guidance for proper disposal of prescription drugs.
- To learn more about CoramRx and your options for managing osteoporosis,
please contact us.
- To enroll as an osteoporosis patient with CoramRx, please complete our
Patient Enrollment Form.
*Please contact CoramRx about other therapies not listed here.