- By Laurel Kelly
Consumer Health: Treating osteoporosis with bisphosphonates
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses, such as bending over or coughing, can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. The disease affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women, especially older women who are past menopause, are at highest risk.
Treatment recommendations often are based on an estimate of your risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years using information such as the bone density test. For anyone at increased risk of fracture, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are bisphosphonates.
Treatment with bisphosphonates typically lasts three to five years. After that, your health care provider will consider your risk factors in determining whether you should continue to take these or other osteoporosis medications.