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Parathyroid Hormone Therapy (For Osteoporosis)

What is parathyroid hormone therapy?
Why would a doctor recommend parathyroid hormone therapy?
What does parathyroid hormone therapy involve?
What are the side effects of parathyroid hormone therapy?

What is parathyroid hormone therapy?

Parathyroid hormone therapy uses a synthetic form of the hormone produced by the parathyroid glands (PTH). This powerful drug – Teriparatide (Forteo) – stimulates new bone growth. It is used to treat osteoporosis in people who are at high risk of fractures, most often postmenopausal women.

Why would a doctor recommend parathyroid hormone therapy?

Other drugs used to treat osteoporosis – bisphosphonates – only slow the loss of bone density. Teriparatide (Forteo) helps your body increase bone mineral density and bone strength. A doctor may recommend parathyroid hormone therapy for a patient who has already had bone fractures due to osteoporosis, who has dangerously low bone mass, and who has not responded to other treatments.

Teriparatide (Forteo) is a relatively new drug, so little is known about its long-term effects. Doctors do not recommend the drug for patients with other bone diseases (such as Paget's disease), bone cancer, a high level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), or a history of radiation therapy involving the bones.

What does parathyroid hormone therapy involve?

Teriparatide (Forteo) comes in a disposable pen device. Using the pen, the patient injects the medicine into his or her thigh or abdominal wall, usually once a day.

The medication needs to be stored in the refrigerator at all times. Each pen can be used for up to 28 days before being discarded.

Doctors do not recommend using this medication for a period longer than two years.

What are the side effects of parathyroid hormone therapy?

The medication can cause dizziness or leg cramps in some patients.

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