Abaloparatide: A Bone-Building Boost

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Osteoporosis: What is it, and what causes it?

"Osteo" (bone) + "Porosis" = Porous bone, or a condition in which the density of the bone is reduced, and the bone structure is weaker and more fragile. Bones develop from birth until young adulthood, reaching their highest density in the early 20s. As the bones continue to age, bone matrix loss can become greater than new growth, resulting in osteoporosis.

Women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men, showing significantly more osteoporotic fractures in the hip and spine. Since these types of fractures can bring serious health consequences, active prevention is critical. Fracture prevention includes appropriate lifestyle changes and medical treatment.

What happens when osteoporosis becomes severe, and base level osteoporotic medications are not sufficient? Abaloparatide is one treatment option approved by the FDA in 2017. An in-depth understanding of what this treatment entails can assist medical providers and patients in deciding whether Abaloparatide is right for them.

What is Abaloparatide?

Abaloparatide is an injection medication that treats osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and reduces the chances of osteoporotic fractures. Abaloparatide has an anabolic effect on the bone, meaning it increases the "building" power of the osteoblasts — the cells responsible for bone formation.

How does it do this? Abaloparatide imitates a hormone-related peptide. Peptides perform biological functions, such as depositing the materials required to build bone. In short, Abaloparatide is a man-made booster for increasing the production of bone tissue.

Abaloparatide is typically injected daily with a small needle (5-8mm). The medication is delivered into the stomach, right around the belly button. An Abaloparatide pen is usually stored in the refrigerator until first use, then at room temperature until the month is complete.

Abaloparatide should only be implemented after other treatment options have been exhausted since it is only recommended for two years of use. After those two years, the effectiveness decreases and side effects increase.

What are the possible side effects?

Abaloparatide includes a warning label for bone cancer (osteosarcoma) because a similar drug, Forteo, showed an increased incidence of the disease during animal testing. Patients who use Abaloparatide must be watched closely for any cancer warning signs. In addition, Abaloparatide can decrease blood pressure and increase calcium in the blood or urine. More minor side effects can include dizziness, nausea, headache, increased heart rate, and pain around the injection site.

As with any prescription medication, careful monitoring by medical professionals is necessary to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks of use.

To learn more about Abaloparatide injections to treat osteoporosis, talk to your doctor.