Are you taking medications that could increase your risk of osteoporotic fracture? Many people are – even after they’ve suffered a fracture – according to a recent article about osteoporotic fractures and medication use from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Scientists looked at 168,000 Medicare beneficiaries who experienced osteoporotic fractures of the hip, shoulder, or wrist. They found that 75% of these patients had actually been taking one or more medications known to increase fracture risk.
Drugs known to increase fracture risk
In the study, 21 classes of drugs were associated with increased fracture risk. Some of the drugs known to increase fracture risk include:
- Glucocorticoid steroids (e.g., prednisone)
- Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (antidepressants)
- Antacids (proton pump inhibitors and aluminum-containing antacids)
- Blood pressure medicines
- Thyroid hormone (when dosed in excess of need)
- Anti-seizure medications
- Anti-estrogen breast cancer drugs
- Anti-testosterone prostate cancer drugs
- Sedatives (benzodiazepines)
- Opiate pain killers, morphine
- Acetaminophen if used long term
- Diabetes medications (thiazolidinediones)
- Heparin, long term use
What can you do to reduce your bone health risks from medications?
The authors of the study were struck by the fact that even after fracturing, patients did not stop using their bone-damaging medication. One obvious helpful suggestion from this study is for doctors to provide alternative medications that damage bone less. Here are other ideas for creating lifelong bone health:
- When a drug therapy is recommended, dig a little deeper! Learn more about your health condition and how it’s related to lifestyle and nutrition.
- Use the medication for the shortest period possible. When you need medication for a chronic condition, work with your doctor to minimize the dose or find a less bone-damaging alternative.
- Study how others with this ailment have regained health using natural, life-supporting alternatives to drug therapy, including exercise, nutritional strategies, and methods that strengthen the mind–body connection.
- Look into the more holistic health approaches, such as functional medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, classic homeopathy, chiropractic, and massage.
If you’re concerned about your risk for fracture and other bone health issues, take a moment to learn more about my natural Better Bones Program.
Munson, JC et al. Patterns of prescription drug use before and after fragility fracture. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(10):1531-1538.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.