Bone disorder drugs
Bone disorder drugs are medicines used to treat or prevent osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) in women past menopause or in elderly men. They also are prescribed for Paget's disease, a painful condition that weakens and deforms bones, and they are used to control calcium levels in the blood.
Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced withnew material. Normally, there is a balance between the breakdown of old boneand its replacement with new bone.
In osteoporosis the bones become porous and thin, weaken, and become more likely to break. Osteoporosis is four times more common in women than in men. Women have less initial bone mass than men, tend to live longer, take in less calcium, and need the female hormone estrogen to keep their bones strong. If men live long enough, they too are at risk of getting osteoporosis. Once totalbone mass has peaked (around age 35), adults start to lose bone. In women, the rate of bone loss increases substantially during menopause as estrogen levels fall.
The ovaries make estrogen, and bone loss may occur at any age if both ovariesare removed by surgery. Hormone replacement therapy is one approach to preventing osteoporosis. However, not all women can use hormone replacement therapy. Bone disorder drugs are a good alternative for people who already have osteoporosis or who are at risk of developing it. Factors increasing the risk ofosteoporosis include lack of regular exercise, early menopause, being underweight, and a family history of osteoporosis.
Bone disorder drugs are available only with a physician's prescription. Common bone disorder drugs are alendronate (Fosamax), calcitonin (Miacalcin, Calcimar), and raloxifene (Evista). Raloxifene belongs to a group of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). These act like estrogen insome parts of the body but not in others. These drugs are less likely to cause some of the harmful effects that estrogen may cause. Unlike estrogen, raloxifene does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
The recommended dose of bone disorder drugs varies with the drug, the reasonit is prescribed, and the form it comes in. Bone disorder drug come in tablet, nasal spray, and injectable forms. Treatment usually continues over many years.
Not everyone should take bone disorder drugs. People with low levels of calcium in their blood should not take aldendronaten, nor should women using hormone replacement therapy, or anyone with kidney problems. Before using alendronate, anyone who has digestive or swallowing problems should make sure that his or her physician knows about the condition.
Calcitonin nasal spray may cause irritation or sores in the nose. The injectable form of calcitonin has caused serious allergic reactions in a few people.Before starting treatment with calcitonin, a physician may order an allergytest to make sure there will not be a problem.
A rare but serious side effect of raloxifene is increased risk of blood clotsthat form in the veins and may break away and travel to the lungs. Because of this possible problem, women with a history of blood clots in their veins should not take raloxifene. Women who have had breast cancer or cancer of theuterus should check with their physicians about whether they can safely use raloxifene.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should check with their physicians before using any bone disorder drugs. Raloxifene should not be used by women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant because of the risk of birth defects.
In addition to taking these drugs, people can help maintain strong bones through a well-balanced diet high in calcium. Dairy products and fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are good sources of both calcium. Dietary supplementsmay help people when food do not provide enough calcium. Other important bone-saving steps are avoiding smoking and alcohol and getting enough weight-bearing exercise such as walking or lifting weights.
Sometimes bone disorder drugs are prescribed for people who have too much calcium in their blood. These people may need to limit the amount of calcium in their diets for the medicine to work properly. Discuss the proper dietwith a physician before making dietary changes. The physician should also betold about any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, medications, or other substances.
Side effects are possible when taking bone disorder drugs. Common side effects of aldendronate include constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, pain in the abdomen, and pain in the muscles and bones. These problems usually go away as the body adjusts to the medicine and do not need medical attention unless they continue or they interfere with normal activities.
The most common side effects of calcitonin nasal spray are nose problems, such as dryness, redness, itching, sores, bleeding and general discomfort. Otherside effects include headache, back pain and joint pain.
Injectable calcitonin may cause minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, flushing of the face, ears, handsor feet, and discomfort or redness at the place on the body where it is injected. Medical attention is not necessary unless these problems persist or cause unusual discomfort. Anyone who gets a skin rash or hives after taking injectable calcitonin should check with a physician as soon as possible.
Common side effects of raloxifene include hot flashes, leg cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Women who have these problems while taking raloxifene should check with their physicians.
Bone disorder drugs can interact with many common drugs including aspirin, some calcium supplements, and, antacids. Calcitonin may keep certain drugs prescribed for Paget's disease, such as etidronate (Didronel), from working correctly. Raloxifene may affect blood clotting. Patients who are taking other drugs that affect blood clotting, such as warfarin (Coumadin), should check withtheir physicians before using raloxifene.