Teriparatide: A Review of its Use in Osteoporosis

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Recombinant teriparatide (Forteo™; Forsteo™) is an anabolic (bone forming) agent. Studies have shown that subcutaneous teriparatide 20 µg/day is effective in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, men with idiopathic or hypogonadal osteoporosis and patients with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Teriparatide improves bone mineral density (BMD) and alters the levels of bone formation and resorption markers; histomorphometric studies showed teriparatide-induced effects on bone structure, strength and quality.

Subcutaneous teriparatide 20 µg/day administered over a treatment period of 11–21 months was effective in reducing the risk of fractures in and in improving BMD in men with idiopathic or hypogonadal osteoporosis, women with postmenopausal osteoporosis and patients with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Furthermore, the beneficial effects of teriparatide on vertebral fracture prevention and BMD appear to persist following treatment cessation. Teriparatide is generally well tolerated and treatment compliance rates are favourable. However, current limitations on the length of treatment and the high acquisition cost mean that teriparatide is best reserved for the treatment of patients with osteoporosis at high risk of fracture, or for patients with osteoporosis who have unsatisfactory responses to or intolerance of other osteoporosis therapies.

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