Anabolic therapy for osteoporosis: Parathyroid hormone
- Cite this article as:
- Cosman, F. Curr Osteoporos Rep (2005) 3: 143. doi:10.1007/s11914-996-0017-2
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Recombinant human parathyroid hormone (PTH 1–34) is the only anabolic agent currently approved for the treatment of osteoporosis. The term anabolic is based on mechanism of action. PTH stimulates bone formation, in contrast to antiresorptive agents, which reduce bone resorption and formation. Recent investigations involving the PTH(1-34) and PTH(1-84) peptides, alone and in combination or sequential regimens with antiresorptive agents, have provided a greater understanding of the place of PTH in the armamentarium against osteoporosis. These studies indicate that adding a bisphosphonate to PTH in previously untreated individuals does not produce additional bone benefit; however, sequential use of PTH followed-up by an antiresorptive agent is highly effective at increasing BMD. Adding PTH after an antiresorptive agent also produces substantial bone density increments, though the magnitude of bone density increase may differ for different antiresorptive agents. PTH can repair underlying micro-architectural defects in bone, improve bone mass substantially, and perhaps change macro-architecture and geometry of bone. There are still many unanswered questions regarding PTH treatment of osteoporosis, including the optimal duration of treatment, optimal dosing regimen, mechanism of resistance to its effect after 18–24 months, and the effect of subsequent rechallenge.