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Sticking with your treatment plan
Deborah T Gold, PhD posted:
Treating osteoporosis requires a combination approach that includes lifestyle modification, appropriate diet and exercise, and the start of medication therapy. Sticking with a treatment plan can be a challenge because so much is required at the same time. However, in order to achieve the best results, all of these treatment variables need to be addressed together.
Osteoporosis treatment requires following a plan designed to ensure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D, engage in regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise, eliminate any modifiable osteoporosis risk factors and start medication therapy. In order to achieve optimal bone health, you need to precisely follow the treatment plan and recommendations of your healthcare provider. This also includes continuing to take your medication as long as it has been prescribed for you.
Medication alone may not be enough; this is also true for diet and exercise. In order for you to achieve the maximum benefit from a medication or other therapy, it is important to fill your prescription and follow the dosing schedule and directions exactly, continue the medication for the full course of treatment, and check with your healthcare provider before you stop taking it.
To find out how well your treatment is working, your healthcare provider will probably repeat your BMD test every two years. Because osteoporosis is a silent disease, you will not feel your bones getting stronger. This can make it hard to stay on a treatment plan. If you decide that a treatment is not right for you, don't just stop taking the medication. First, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.
nonniebelle responded:
Is treatment for osteoporosis with Actonel recommended for more than 5 years? I ask because I have been taking it for 8 years now & am not sure if it is something I should continue to take forever. I had breast cancer at age 38 followed by a mastectomy and chemo. After chemo I took Tamoxifen for 6 years. At 48 I was diagnosed with osteopenia and given Evista. At 50 I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in the spine and osteopenia in the hip. Since the Evista (Raloxifene) hadn't helped my bone density I was sent to an endocrinologist who put me on Actonel at age 52. He since diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. My T scores continued to decline for several years but have stabilized for the last 2. We moved & I now see a GP not an endocrinologist. I also have dental problems & the dental surgeon is not happy about the Actonel. My GP doesn't know how long it is safe to take a biophosphate & I don't want to find out later that I should have stopped it at some point. I am 60 & latest T scores were lumbar spine -2.6, left hip -1.6. I take 50,000 units of vitamin D twice a month( which raised the level from 28 to 41) and calcium daily. What do I do about the Actonel?
bonebabe replied to nonniebelle's response:
The purpose of osteo meds is the reduce your risk of fracture. You're at a high risk because you have osteoporosis and, I'm assuming, are not on hormone therapy. Your risk will also rise as you age. If you've already had a fracture, that risk will double.

Our medical director, who is an osteoporosis expert, said in a community talk this past May - if your medicine is working for you, i.e., you haven't fractured and your scores are stable, don't get off the meds. If your T-scores were higher, you might want to try getting off for a 2 year period, then rescan to see if you've remained stable or not. But, with osteoporosis, your risk of a life altering fracture is greater than your risk of continuing the medication.

Hope this helps. Maybe some of the experts from NOF will weigh in on this too.

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