Medicines That Can Cause Osteoporosis

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Medicines That Can Cause Osteoporosis

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Certain medicines are known to cause bone loss, which may lead to osteoporosis. These include:

  • Corticosteroids, used to treat conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If used for a period of 6 months or longer, corticosteroids can lead to steroid-induced osteoporosis.
  • Thyroid replacement medicine, if the dose is more than the body needs. This should be monitored by checking the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) at least every year.
  • Antiseizure medicines, such as phenytoin or carbamazepine.
  • Medicines used to treat endometriosis, such as leuprolide (Lupron Depot) and nafarelin acetate (Synarel).
  • Aromatase inhibitors, used to treat breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer.
  • Some antidepressant medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are used to treat many conditions, including depression, fibromyalgia, and premenstrual syndrome.
  • Heparin, a blood thinner, if used for a long time.
  • Depo-Provera, a birth control medicine given by injection, if used for a long time
  • Antacids that contain aluminum, if they are overused. Aluminum-containing antacids remove calcium from your body.
  • Some diabetes medicines, such as rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos).


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised July 29, 2011

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