Role of bisphosphonates and calcitonin in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
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Bisphosphonates have been shown to increase bone mineral density in patients with established osteoporosis as well as those with osteopenia. The evidence conclusively shows a reduction in fracture rates in patients on the more potent nitrogen containing bisphosphonates. Indeed, significant vertebral fracture rate reduction has been demonstrated after only 1 year of therapy. Alendronate, a second-generation bisphosphonate, and risedronate, a third-generation bisphosphonate, are first line medications for the treatment of osteoporosis given their efficacy in preventing both vertebral and non-vertebral fractures. There is evidence that vertebral fractures may be prevented by intermittent cyclic therapy with etidronate. All three have been shown to increase bone mineral density in the spine, with alendronate and risedronate producing significant increases in hip bone density. Calcitonin has demonstrated the ability to reduce vertebral fracture rates with minimal changes in bone density. Calcitonin is also beneficial in reducing the bone pain associated with fractures.
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