Teriparatide (Forteo) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to treat osteoporosis in men and women. It is given by
Teriparatide is a synthetic version of parathyroid hormone, which
is the body's primary regulator of calcium and phosphate in the bones.
Teriparatide stimulates bone growth and slows the rate of bone loss.
Teriparatide is used to treat severe osteoporosis in people at high
risk for bone fractures. It can be used by both men and women. Teriparatide treatment
is reserved for people with severe osteoporosis who are unable to take
other medicines or for whom other medicines are not effective. The reasons why teriparatide is used after other treatments include its high cost, need for daily injections, and unknown long-term effects.
Teriparatide increases bone density and decreases the risk of fractures.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
Teriparatide is very expensive and must be given by daily
Long-term effects of taking teriparatide are not known, so experts recommend that this medicine is taken for no longer than 2 years. After you stop taking teriparatide, you will take another medicine such as alendronate, which is a bisphosphonate, to prevent bone loss.
Teriparatide is not recommended for young people whose bones have not stopped growing or who have had radiation therapy that involved the bones.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Citations Drugs for postmenopausal osteoporosis (2011).
Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 9(111): 67–74.
November 6, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
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