Bone Health: The Ins and Outs of Osteoporosis Medications

With many drugs on the market and long-term studies showing their varied effects, picking the right treatment can be tough. Local doctors weigh in on which drug may be right for you.

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Confused and concerned about calcium, bone health and osteoporosis medications like Fosamax, Prolia and Boniva?

“It’s the number one thing that my post-menopausal patients are asking me about,” says Dr. Christine Ellis, an OB/GYN with Associates for Women’s Medicine in West Chester and Exton. “There’s a lot of information out there, but not all of it is correct.”

Every patient’s needs are different, but one thing’s for sure: “We’re looking at a huge population of baby boomers and their parents who are dealing with osteoporosis,” says Dr. Gary Gordon, chief of rheumatology at Lankenau Hospital.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that 10 million Americans have the disease and 34 million may develop it. Both men and women are at risk. The NOF estimates that, of people older than 50, half of all women and one in four men will break a bone because of osteoporosis.

In layman’s terms, bones are made of calcium phosphate, collagen and cells that slough away old cells and replace them with new ones. This process happens with human bodies of every age and both genders. But, as we age, the regeneration-replacement process slows, resulting in less dense, more fragile bones.

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