While in some cases the development of osteoporosis is preventable, some people are predisposed to the medical condition and will need to be treated to help prevent the loss of bone mass, especially as they get older.
There are prescription medications on the market that can help prevent or slow down the loss of bone in both men and women. Some of the medications used include brand-names like Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Zometa. Each medication does carry their own list of potential side effects which may include stomach pain, nausea, and the potential for esophageal ulcers to develop. Some of the medications are injectable so they may not have as strong a reaction on the stomach. The injectable medications may be given on a quarterly basis or as a yearly therapy. Weekly and monthly pill form medications are also used.
Hormone therapies may also be used to treat osteoporosis. Estrogen is used in women after they have gone through menopause to help maintain the density of the bones. Estrogen has its own risks including blood clots, heart disease, and certain cancers. There is also a drug known as raloxifene which works like estrogen but has lower risks especially for cancer development. For men, testosterone drugs may be used in older men but research has found that osteoporosis medications have been more effective at preventing bone loss.
There are also medications designed to stimulate new bone growth but they are powerful medication less commonly used. If traditional prescription medications do not work effectively for some people the drugs teriparatide and denosumab may be used. Dietary changes and increased exercise may also be required as part of therapy for osteoporosis.