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Key Points about Treatment for Osteoporosis

The steps to promote strong bones are necessary for all individuals but not enough for everyone. Some individuals may also need to take medication to reduce bone loss and/or prevent fractures.

To determine your need for osteoporosis medication, your healthcare provider will review your medical history and assess your risk factors for bone loss and fracture (broken bones).

Adults who have had a spine or hip fracture are at higher risk for future fractures. It is important to keep following the steps for stronger bones. In addition, to prevent future fractures, osteoporosis medication is usually needed.

The indications for treatment in postmenopausal women and men age 50 or older are as follows:

  • Individuals with a hip or spine fracture
  • Individuals with osteoporosis (a bone density test result of a T-score equal to or greater than -2.5 at the hip or spine).
  • Individuals with low bone mass may be considered for treatment depending upon the number and severity of risk factors for fracture.

Osteoporosis medications are rarely indicated for premenopausal women.

There are several osteoporosis medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It is important to discuss all of the potential benefits and risks of taking any osteoporosis medication with your healthcare provider.

There are alternative or over-the-counter products claiming to treat osteoporosis. These are typically based solely on testimonials and may lack scientific evidence about effectiveness and safety. The risks of over-the-counter treatments are not known.