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Understanding Osteoporosis Medications (cont.)

Parathyroid Hormone Derivatives

Teriparatide (Forteo) is a genetically engineered parathyroid hormone (PTH).

  • How parathyroid hormone derivatives work: PTH regulates calcium in the blood and stimulates bone formation.
  • Who should not use these medications: Persons with allergy to PTH derivatives should not take them, nor should those with an increased risk of osteosarcoma, such as people with Paget's disease, unexplained alkaline phosphatase elevations, open epiphyses (a part of long bones), or prior skeletal radiation.
  • Use: PTH derivatives are given as a subcutaneous (beneath the skin) injection each day. Because of the potential for fainting after administering the drug, the initial doses should be given while sitting or lying down.
  • Drug or food interactions: No drug or food interactions have been identified at this time.
  • Side effects: Since PTH derivatives increase calcium levels in the blood, your doctor will monitor your blood levels. They may also increase uric acid levels in the blood and cause low blood pressure following administration. A sudden drop in blood pressure may aggravate existing heart disease. Nausea, vomiting, constipation, and unusual tiredness or weakness are possible. Contact your doctor if these side effects persist.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2014
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