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What Is Teriparatide Used For?

Teriparatide Uses for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, which means "porous bone," is a disease characterized by low bone mass (bone thinning) that leads to fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Men as well as women are affected by this condition. Fortunately, osteoporosis is a disease that can be prevented and treated.
Common causes of osteoporosis include:
  • Age-related bone loss
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Long-term corticosteroid use
  • Certain diseases.
Race and ethnicity may play a role in developing osteoporosis as well, but more research is needed to determine the connection.
Often, osteoporosis treatment is not started until a bone is broken, as there are usually no symptoms of osteoporosis. However, treatment may be started earlier if the disease is detected using a test (see Diagnosing Osteoporosis).

How Does Teriparatide Work?

Teriparatide is a manufactured version of parathyroid hormone (PTH), a naturally occurring hormone that regulates calcium and phosphate in the body. PTH can have beneficial or harmful effects on bone, depending on the pattern of exposure. Having high PTH all the time (known medically as hyperparathyroidism) can lead to bone loss. However, when PTH is given once a day (such as with teriparatide), it seems to have the opposite effect, helping to build new bone.

Teriparatide Uses in Children

Teriparatide is not approved for use in children. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using the drug in children. Teriparatide seems to increase the risk of bone cancer in rats, and it is thought that children may be at higher risk for developing bone cancer due to teriparatide, since their bones are still growing.
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