Forteo (teriparatide)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: teriparatide (rDNA origin) injection





Forteo is a prescription medicine that is used to treat:

  • Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who are at high risk for bone fractures
  • Men with primary or hypogonadal osteoporosis at high risk for fractures
  • Men and women with osteoporosis due to the use of steroid medicines who are at high risk for fractures.


  • Forteo increased in the occurrence of osteosarcoma in rats. Osteosarcoma is a malignant bone tumor. Therefore, Forteo should only be used when the potential benefits outweigh the risk.
  • Forteo should not be prescribed for patients at increased risk for osteosarcoma. Examples of patients at risk for osteosarcoma includes those with Paget's disease of bone or unexplained elevations of alkaline phosphatase, pediatric and young adult patients with open epiphyses, or prior external beam or implant radiation therapy involving the skeleton.


The most common side effects of Forteo are

Forteo can cause some serious side effects including a drop in blood pressure when getting up from a sitting or lying position (orthostatic hypotension) and increased calcium in the blood.

In animal studies some rats developed osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Osteosarcoma is a rare but serious form of cancer rarely reported in patients taking Forteo. To investigate if Forteo increases the risk of osteosarcoma, a voluntary patient registry has been developed. Patients can get more information about this registry by calling 1-866-382-6813 or visiting

Possible serious side effects or adverse events:

  • Patients with Paget's disease of bone, pediatric and young adult patients with open epiphyses (ends of long bones that are still growing), and patients with prior external beam or implant radiation involving the skeleton should not receive Forteo.
  • Forteo should not be used for more than 2 years in a patient's lifetime and should not be given to patients with bone cancer, history of skeletal cancer, metabolic bone diseases other than osteoporosis, or hypercalcemic disorders.
  • Forteo may increase blood levels of calcium and uric acid. It may also increase calcium levels in urine.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/8/2016

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