Treating Osteoporosis

A number of effective medications are approved for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. These medications must be tailored to a person's specific needs and used in conjunction with recommended lifestyle changes. Available medications used to treat osteoporosis include:

  • Alendronate
  • Risedronate
  • Ibandronate
  • Zoledronic Acid
  • Raloxifene
  • Abaloparatide
  • Teriparatide and PTH
  • Denosumab
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

How effective are treatments?

For patients at high risk, drug treatments are needed to effectively reduce the risk of broken bones due to osteoporosis. Treatments have been shown to reduce the risk of hip fracture by up to 40%, vertebral fractures by 30-70% and, with some medications, reduce the risk for non-vertebral fractures by 30-40%.  

Staying on treatment

Treatment options can only work if taken as recommended. It's common for people with osteoporosis to find taking medication challenging. As a result, up to half of all people stop their treatment after only one year. Read more information about staying on treatment.

Are there risks involved?

As with any medication, there are risks and side effects involved with osteoporosis treatments. For more information on the specific risks involved with commonly available treatments, follow the links at the top of this page. To read about known issues with osteoporosis medications visit our Special Topics section.

Other types of treatments

In addition to drug therapy, calcium and vitamin D supplements can be prescribed to ensure adequate intake and to ensure maximum effectiveness of the drug therapy.

Doctors and patients should also be aware that attention to lifestyle factors must go hand in hand with any drug treatment prescribed.

Practical Support

Practical and emotional support is important for a person on osteoporsis treatment. This can be provided by health professionals, osteoporosis patient support groups, family and friends. Such support is of great assistance in helping people manage their osteoporosis, and in lessening the feelings of isolation and depression experienced by many patients with severe osteoporosis.

Find a local osteoporosis society