Treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis
Post-menopausal osteoporosis. In this article, we will be looking specifically at post-menopausal osteoporosis, which is the main form of this bone condition. Do note that other types of osteoporosis may require different approaches and are beyond the scope of this article.
There are usually two main common classes of medication available: anti-resorptives and bone formation agents.
Anti-resorptives work by reducing bone turnover and usually come in the forms of oral medication or injection. A common first line of treatment for osteoporosis is the class of bisphosphonates.
A second class of anti-resorptive agent is an injectable called denosomab. It is a subcutaneous injection and is given every 6 months.
Anti-resorptive agents carry a small risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw which is associated with jaw trauma or dental surgery. Hence, it is advisable to seek dental clearance before starting any of these medications and to maintain a good dental hygiene thereafter.
Teriparatide injections have been proven to be highly effective, particularly for severe osteoporosis. This drug induces new bone formation.
They come in the form of daily injections that usually last 18 to 24 months. After completion of treatment, patients are usually transitioned to an anti-resorptive agent to preserve the bone tissue that has been built up.
Having adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D is important for overall bone health. These are adjunctive therapies and usually come in oral formulation. Seek dosage recommendations from your doctor.
Another lifestyle measure is weight-bearing and bone-building exercises. Such exercises allow the body to work and train against gravity, thereby strengthening your bones. These activities include lifting weights, walking, jogging and even dancing. Consult your doctor before starting any strenuous exercise or activity.
This article has been fact-checked by Dr Goh Kian Peng, an endocrinologist in Saint-Julien Clinic for Diabetes & Endocrinology, Mount Alvernia Hospital.