There are many remedies or preventatives for bone loss. While some are oral, others come in the form of an injection at the doctor’s office. These medications are more potent than supplements, and for some it is just easier to have an infusion or injection than having to remember to take a pill daily. More convenient, sure, but are these injections and infusions worth the cost?
Two of the most talked about (and marketed) bone density medications are Prolia and Forteo. Both are administered by a specialist, and while this is certainly much easier than having to take a supplement daily, there are risks. Prolia is a twice-yearly injection, and while this is great for those who do not want to invest a ton of time into their health routine, the side effects may not be worth it to you. Possible serious side effects include bone damage, fractures, low blood calcium, and muscle pain. Another huge issue with Prolia are the unknowns, and one in particular is worrisome: It is unknown if Prolia can slow the healing of a broken or fractured bone.
Forteo can have a worse side effect profile, including the increased risk of certain bone cancers. Serious side effects can cause a significant drop in blood pressure, tremors, and muscle pain. A common reaction to the injection is dizziness, which typically subsides within four hours of treatment. While Forteo can be given by a doctor, many choose to take the injection themselves. The little device must stay refrigerated, which can be a hassle for some. This injection is given daily for 24 months, with 28 doses in each cartridge. This is also troublesome for some, being something that you must do everyday for two years.
While both injections help keep bone strong, they work differently: Prolia helps keep bone-killing cells away, and Forteo helps increase bone mass by building new bone. While both drugs may seemingly to the same thing, they are for different people: Prolia for those who are afraid of aging with brittle bones, and Forteo for those who have previously had issues with brittle bones (i.e. fractures).
While an injection can be beneficial for those who do not want to take an additional daily supplement for the rest of their lives, there are some who cannot take these daily injections. Those with kidney issues, cancers, and skin issues (eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis) cannot take these drugs. Other ailments and issues are also known to interfere or worsen with these injections, so be sure to go over your entire medical profile before taking either of these drugs.
Are injections worth it in regards to bone health? Perhaps. They save time and money, but the side effects are troublesome. For some, the answer is a straight “no”, thanks to their pre-existing conditions. For others, it is up to you and your doctor to decide which, if either, bone density injections are right for you.