Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 797–809

Individualizing osteoporosis therapy



Guidelines for osteoporosis treatment are available; however, these guidelines suggest when to treat patients, without specific recommendations on what drugs to prescribe in various situations. Choice of osteoporosis therapy should be individualized based on consideration of the efficacy, safety, cost, convenience (i.e., dosing regimen and delivery), and other non-osteoporosis-related benefits associated with each agent. Bisphosphonates, administered orally or intravenously, should be considered first-line therapy, particularly in older patients, owing to their efficacy across multiple skeletal sites; however, there are potential short- and long-term safety concerns. Selective estrogen receptor modulators should be considered for younger postmenopausal women at greater risk for vertebral than hip fractures or as second-line therapy in women who cannot tolerate first-line therapies. Low-dose hormone therapy may be appropriate as prevention in women with menopausal symptoms at lower fracture risk. Calcitonin, with its relatively benign safety profile, may be appropriate for elderly women who may have difficulty following the complex dosing schedules of oral bisphosphonates. Anabolic therapies such as teriparatide should be considered for high-risk patients. Strontium ranelate (approved outside of North America), with both anabolic and antiresorptive properties, may be appropriate for women who cannot tolerate or are unable to take bisphosphonates. Denosumab is a monoclonal antibody appropriate for women at high fracture risk or who have failed other osteoporosis therapies, and may be considered in patients with renal insufficiency. It will be important to incorporate newer agents (e.g., bazedoxifene, tissue selective estrogen complex) into this individualized treatment paradigm to optimize clinical outcomes in patients with osteoporosis.


Bisphosphonates Drug therapy Fracture Osteoporosis Postmenopause Selective estrogen receptor modulator 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Center for Clinical and Basic ResearchBallerupDenmark
  3. 3.Beverly HillsUSA

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