Medical / October 14, 2011

A Closer Look at Osteoporosis Treatment Options

Osteoporosis treatments are probably the most common query among the minds of the older age adults. This is a condition which causes a fracture in the wrist, hip, or spine following a fall or slip, and can cause serious troubles, especially for someone who is older in age. Osteoporosis leads to a weakening of the bone tissues. This condition is caused due to a deficiency in the intake of requisite minerals, calcium, and phosphate being the primary requirements. Often these requirements are met through drugs and other medicinal intakes. But today we’re going to take a closer look at osteoporosis treatment options.

Falling a bit Short

Osteoporosis treatments generally include consumption of bisphosphonates or other such drugs. These drugs seem to have had tremendous success in controlling the onset of osteoporosis. However recent studies have shown that dependence on such drugs is risky. Extensive use of bisphosphonates not only increases the risk of a special case of thigh fracture, but in fact, it even doubles the risk of esophageal cancer, as published in the British Medical Journal recently. Other side-effects are heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea. In fact, the FDA suggested in the year 2009 that these oral osteoporosis drugs could be linked not only to esophageal cancer, but also to untimely deaths in women, linked to bisphosphonate-linked malignancies.


This growing risk has compelled researchers and doctors to look for other ways to treat the same.

Compression fractures are probably the most common fracture associated with this bone disease. Medtronic Inc. devised a new osteoporosis treatment, in which the surgeons treat the compressed vertebrae by inflating tiny balloons inside the fractured bone structure. This creates a cavity inside the bone structure, in which bone cement is injected which hardens with time.

But these are all medical treatments. It has been a well known fact that exercising regularly helps in increasing the bone mineral density and also strengthens the bones, and thus helps in preventing osteoporosis. Research and studies conducted by the Medical College of Georgia and published in the medical journal Bone concluded that a 30-minute routine of vibrations or rhythmic movements of the bone done for 12 weeks, may help in preventing osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density. This is not a new development, but instead dates back about 200 years, around the War of 1812! The vibrations exercise the stem cells of the body, which are in fact the primary controllers of the healing process.

Another alternate is a biological drug called Prolia, which acts like an antibody, and acts only on those cells which are responsible for removing the calcium from the bones. This drug is an improvement since it does not include the side-effects in which the bisphosphonate drug family has.

Worldly Figures

Osteoporosis today has affected more than 75 million people around the globe, with 10 million being in the United States itself. The 1990s saw an increase in the number of hip fractures due to osteoporosis by almost 25%, which had doctors all over the world worried. By 2050, it is projected that the number of people suffering from this disease could increase by 310% in men, and by 240% in women. These are not numbers to take lightly. And these numbers seem to keep rising. It seems some changes need to be in order.