10 Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

8. Medications

Medications are another controllable risk factor for the development of osteoporosis.  Certain medications can lead to significant bone loss in men and women.  Long-term use of steroids such as cortisone or prednisone may increase an individual’s risk of developing osteoporosis.  Long-term use of steroid medication is defined as taking an oral dose of 5-mg or more for greater than 3-months.  As a result, it is recommended to take steroids at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time to control symptoms.

In addition, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reports the following medicines may cause bone loss:

  • Arimidex, Aromasin, Tamoxifen, and Femara, which are drugs used to treat breast cancer  
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital, which are antiseizure medications
  • Heparin, a blood thinner
  • Cyclosporine A, FK506 (Tacrolimus), and methotrexate, which are drugs that suppress the immune system
  • Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec, which are drugs used to treat acid reflux

Note:  The above list is not all-inclusive.

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