Recent Blog Articles

By the way, doctor: Should I take an intravenous drug for osteoporosis?

Updated: July 01, 2007

Q. I've been taking a Fosamax pill once a week for two years for osteoporosis. I heard that there is an intravenous drug for osteoporosis that's taken just once a year. Should I consider switching to it?

A. The report that a yearly infusion of zoledronic acid reduces fracture risk has many postmenopausal women asking the same question. Zoledronic acid is a bisphosphonate. Like other medications in this class, such as the oral drugs alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel), it reduces bone resorption (breakdown). It's approved for treating bone damage and high blood levels of calcium in cancer patients. In 2002, researchers found that a single infusion increased bone mineral density (BMD) and reduced bone turnover for a full year afterwards, spurring interest in zoledronic acid as a treatment for osteoporosis.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.