Once the appropriate medical history, physical exam and diagnostic tests have been obtained and a diagnosis of primary osteoporosis has been made, treatment is warranted. Treatment for osteoporosis typically includes education on diet/nutrition, exercise (if no fractures) and medications. The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to prevent fractures.

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First, education regarding the appropriate calcium and Vitamin D intake, as well as overall nutrition, is necessary. As appropriate, exercise and fitness is also important to help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of falls. For information regarding treating osteoporosis through diet and exercise, please see How to Prevent Osteoporosis?

There are a number of medications to treat osteoporosis and help reduce the risk of fractures. In general, these medications work by helping to strengthen the bones and prevent further bone loss. Medications currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis are:

  • Osteoporosis medications that slow or stop bone resorption
    • Bisphosphonates
    • Calcitonin
    • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators, e.g., Raloxifene
    • Estrogen/hormone therapy
  • Osteoporosis medications that increase bone formation
    • Teriparatide, a parathyroid hormone