Arthritis Medications (cont.)
Osteoporosis Medications: The best treatment for osteoporosis is prevention. Quitting smoking and curtailing alcohol intake are helpful. Exercise against gravity can reduce bone loss and can even stimulate new bone formation. Additionally, exercise increases agility, strength, and endurance; factors that can reduce accidents. Exercise programs are individualized and should be regular; at least several times weekly. For patients with underlying musculoskeletal disorders, combining exercising with joint protection techniques is important.
Calcium supplements are useful, especially in women. Average women in the United States receive less than 500 milligrams of calcium per day in their diet. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium intake is 800mg per day. The National Institute of Health Consensus Conference on Osteoporosis has recommended a calcium intake for postmenopausal women of 1000mg per day if they are also taking estrogen and 1500mg per day if they are not taking estrogen.
Estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women is important in the prevention of accelerated bone loss. Estrogen can even reverse the bone loss that occurs after menopause. Estrogen is available orally (PREMARIN, ESTRACE, ESTRATEST, and others) or as a skin patch (ESTRADERM, VIVELLE, and others). Women with certain conditions, such as a history of breast cancer, phlebitis, or stroke may not be candidates for estrogen because of the potential for worsening or inducing recurrences of these conditions.
Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to be of benefit in elderly patients, particularly those in nursing homes. This is probably due to the fact that many patients in nursing homes are vitamin D deficient.
Last Editorial Review: 2/9/2006