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]