The People's Perspective on Medicine

Vitamin D Improves Response to Osteoporosis Drugs

Osteoporosis drugs like Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax and Reclast are prescribed to strengthen bones. They may not work as well as expected, however, if vitamin D levels are low. A study of 160 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis measured their vitamin D status before they started taking the medications. Those whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were between 20 and 30 ng/ml were much less likely to respond favorably to the drugs than those with higher levels.
Although 20 ng/ml is considered an adequate level by federal authorities, almost 80 percent of the women whose vitamin D fell within this range did not benefit from the osteoporosis drugs. Women with higher levels of vitamin D circulating in their bodies were far more likely to respond well to such medications. The bottom line appears to be that optimizing vitamin D levels before treatment with an osteoporosis drug is the most successful strategy for stronger bones.
[Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting]

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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    My doc put me on calcium 600mg twice a day. On reading one of the columns in The Buffalo News I started taking calcium citrate, generic from Wegmans. 2 years later I have been cut back to one a day as my calcium level is at the top of the range!

    Eleanor K. is exactly right. I have the same experience of Fosomax for 4 years & brittle bones with one fractured vertebrae thus far… Also, be aware if you live above the Mason Dixon line for that is where well-meaning grown kiddos offer to bring bread, milk.. whatever.. in order for their parents to NOT go out in the Vitamin D sunshine. Even living in Florida, I’ve added Vit. D years ago.

    Vitamin K2 is supposed to be good for bones. I bought some after researching it online. Make sure it’s K2 and not another form of Vitamin K.

    Interesting about the combination of vitamin D and the osteoporosis drugs, but they have come into question as to consequences. I have a friend with severe osteoporosis who was put on phosomax in the hopes it would help her, but has caused her bones to be so brittle that she now has multiple fractures all over her body and her jaw is in such bad shape, they can’t do dental work.

    Perhaps Vitamin D3 is building bone all by itself.

    Or rather than:
    “optimizing vitamin D levels before treatment with an osteoporosis drug is the most successful strategy for stronger bones. ”
    how about,
    “a lifetime of optimum Vitamin D levels may obviate the need for treatment with osteoporosis drugs in the first place?”
    The sad thing is, bone health may be the least important of Vitamin D functions.

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^