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Natural Medicine

Worried About Bone Loss? Watch Out for These Prescription Medications

These common prescription medications can contribute to bone loss -- and the problem may be compounded if you take more than one.

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As we age, there is a greater risk of bone loss, called osteoporosis. Bone loss may be caused by agingmenopause, lifestyle and nutrient depletions. Diseases like diabetes, lupus, celiac, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and multiple sclerosis also may contribute to osteoporosis. Medications are another contributing factor that isn’t often considered. Naturopathic doctor, John Neustadt, ND, reviews a JAMA Internal Medicine study on medications that may interfere with bone metabolism and lead to osteoporosis, in Natural Medicine Journal, the official publication of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

As Dr. Neustadt writes, as many as 73.9 percent of physicians visits in the United States involve some sort of prescribing medication, according the Centers for Disease Control. Furthermore, 44 percent of men and 57 percent of women aged 65 years or more take at least 5 medications, and 12 percent in this age group take 10 or more. Dr. Neustadt reminds us that given the high level of medication use, patients who are taking certain medications should be aware of osteoporosis and fracture risk and how this can come about. The scientific reviews the damaging skeletal effects of some of the most commonly prescribed medications and highlights the importance of vitamins K and D and calcium for bone health.

Common Medications that May Lead to Bone Loss & Osteoporosis

  • Glucocorticoids
  • Acid Suppression Drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Androgen-Deprivation Therapy

See the complete list of pharmaceutical categories and drug names.

What Should You Do if Your Medication is Leading to Bone Loss?

Dr. Neustadt explains that there are no published guidelines to mitigate medication-induced osteoporosis (MIO) and fracture risk for most drugs. “Too often clinicians are not screening for osteoporosis in patients taking these medications, or they are putting them on osteoporosis-inducing medications even after the patient has sustained a fracture. Screening all medications for potential adverse skeletal events is crucial to ensuring patients are receiving the best and safest care possible,” writes Dr. Neustadt. He advises discussing medication alternatives with your doctor that do not damage bone. This may not always be possible, however with the assistance of naturopathic medicine, an ND can provide ways to reduce the risk of bone loss.

Click Here to Read the Full Science Review of Medications that Lead to Osteoporosis

This article is provided by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, partnered with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing health care systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following  initiatives:

  • Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
  • Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
  • Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine