Do you know how strong your bones are?
Most people don’t…unless you’ve had a bone density.
That’s a type of x-ray called DEXA that compares the density of your bones to a know population of women so you know if your bones are strong, or are losing calcium at a rate that increases your risk of a bone fracture.
It’s information you should know. Why? Because if you’re a healthy 50-year-old woman, your chances of dying of a complication of osteoporosis or thinning of the bones is the same as your chances of dying from breast cancer.
There are a lot of things that can help you keep your bones strong. And one important tip is to know what common meds you could be taking that rob your bones of their calcium, leaving you vulnerable for a bone fracture the next time you fall.
7 Medications That can Cause Bone Loss and Bone Breaks
Synthetic Glucocorticoids (e.g. prednisone, dexamethasone)
Prednisone 7.5 mg (or more) daily for 3 (or more) months (these do not have to be consecutive) in the previous year.
Breast Cancer Drugs
Aromatase inhibitors anastrozole (Arimidex®), letrozole (Femara®) and exemestane (Aromasin®) prevent estrogen production and cause bone loss and increased risk of fractures, particularly at the spine and wrist.
Proton pump inhibitors, such as Prevacid®, Losec®, Pantoloc®, Tecta®, Pariet ® and Nexium®, are used to treat reflux, heartburn and ulcers. High doses used for several years can increase hip fracture risk in older adults.
Excessive Thyroid Hormone Replacement
Elevated thyroid replacement in older adults can cause abnormal heart rhythms and muscle weakness, which increase the risk of falls and fractures. It can also lower bone mineral density and bone quality that can lead to fractures.
Anti-seizure and Mood-altering Drugs
The anti-seizure drugs carbamazepine (Tegretol®) and phenytoin (Dilantin®) can reduce in bone density, by lowering vitamin D and absorption of calcium from the intestines. Mood-altering drugs can cause falls by causing drowsiness, confusion, or a blood pressure drop.
Blood Pressure Medication
Some high blood pressure drugs increase the risk of falls and fractures in older adults during the first few weeks of treatment because of a drop in blood pressure. Be careful when first starting them.
Diuretics, such as furosemide (Lasix®), increase urination and promote loss of calcium from the kidneys, leading to reduced bone mineral density at the hip and an increased risk of hip fracture within the first 7 days of use.
3 Other Common Drugs to Watch Out For…
- Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) after three plus years of use
- Narcotic and opioid medications such as morphine may lead to dizziness or changes in balance that lead to falls.
- Aluminum-containing antacids such as Maalox®, Mylanta®, Amphogel®, Gelusil® and Rolaids® may inhibit phosphate absorption from the intestine, which may reduce bone mineral density.
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