Review of Treatment Modalities for Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

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This review summarizes and updates data presented at recent annual Southern Medical Association conferences on postmenopausal osteoporosis. As part of any osteoporosis treatment program, it is important to maintain adequate calcium and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels either through diet or supplementation. Among the available pharmacologic therapies, the bisphosphonates alendronate and risedronate have demonstrated the most robust fracture risk reductions- approximately 40 to 50% reduction in vertebral fracture risk, 30 to 40% in nonvertebral fracture risk, and 40 to 60% in hip fracture risk. Ibandronate, a new bisphosphonate, has demonstrated efficacy in reducing vertebral fracture risk. Salmon calcitonin nasal spray and raloxifene demonstrated significant reductions in vertebral fracture risk in pivotal studies. Teriparatide significantly reduced vertebral and nonvertebral fracture risk. Drugs on the horizon include strontium ranelate, which has been shown to reduce vertebral and nonvertebral fracture risk, and zoledronic acid, an injectable bisphosphonate that increased bone density with once-yearly administration.