Osteoporosis treatment: How do you measure its effectiveness?

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Osteoporosis treatment: How do you know it's working?

Question

How do I know if my osteoporosis medications are working? My bone density doesn't seem to be improving.

Ardis
Wisconsin

Answer

The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to prevent fractures. So the absence of fractures suggests the treatment is working.

Many doctors also use periodic bone density measurements to evaluate the effectiveness of drug treatment for osteoporosis. However, it is important to note that osteoporosis medications may decrease the risk of fractures even when there is no apparent increase in bone density. This is because bone density testing often is not sensitive enough to detect very small changes in bone density.

Less commonly, blood and urine tests are used to evaluate the effectiveness of osteoporosis treatment. These tests measure various biochemical markers of bone health.

If you have osteoporosis, it is important to continue taking your medications to reduce the risk of fractures. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you have about your osteoporosis treatment.

Last Updated: 09/08/2006
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