Harvard Women's Health Watch

Do you need a drug for osteoporosis?


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Several medications can maintain or increase bone density. You can choose one based on your health and preferences.

Most of what we read about hip fracture isn't good. It is a major cause of disability, nursing home admissions, and death in older women. But there is a promising trend: hip fractures in the United States have been on the decline since 1996. Although better nutrition, increased physical activity, and education on fall prevention may have played a role, the drop in fractures has also coincided with the widespread availability of bisphosphonates—a class of drugs first approved in 1995 to increase bone density.

Dr. David Slovik, an endocrinologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, says, "That reduction is likely due in large part to the use of bisphosphonates, along with our ability to diagnose and treat osteoporosis earlier. These medications play an important role in building bone strength and preventing fractures."

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