, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 24-30
Date: 29 Mar 2008

Combination anabolic and antiresorptive therapy for osteoporosis: Opening the anabolic window

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Antiresorptive agents for osteoporosis are a cornerstone of therapy, but anabolic drugs have recently increased our options. By stimulating bone formation, anabolic agents reduce fracture incidence by improving bone qualities in addition to increasing bone mass. The only anabolic agent currently approved for osteoporosis by the US Food and Drug Administration, teriparatide (recombinant human parathyroid hormone [1–34]), has emerged as a major approach to selected patients with osteoporosis. Recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1–84) is also available in Europe. Teriparatide increases bone density and bone turnover, improves microarchitecture, and changes bone size. The incidence of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures is reduced. A current concept in the mechanism of teriparatide action is related to its effect to stimulate processes associated with bone formation before it stimulates processes associated with bone resorption. This sequence of events has led to the concept of the anabolic window, the period of time when teriparatide is maximally anabolic. Newer approaches to the use of teriparatide alone and in combination with antiresorptive agents have led to ways in which the anabolic window can be expanded.