Which medications in the drug class Calcium Metabolism Modifiers are used in the treatment of Osteoporosis?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Monique Bethel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Calcium Metabolism Modifiers

Calcium metabolism modifiers such as bisphosphonates are stable analogues of inorganic pyrophosphate. Bisphosphonates have a high affinity for hydroxyapatite crystals, and by binding at sites of active bone resorption, these agents can inhibit osteoclastic resorption. All oral bisphosphonates have poor absorption and have a bioavailability of less than 5%. Bone uptake is 20-80%, with the remainder being rapidly excreted through the kidneys. [230]

Bisphosphonates are approved in the United States for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, osteoporosis in males, and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Their major pharmacologic action is the inhibition of bone resorption.

Alendronate (Fosamax); alendronate sodium/cholecalciferol (Fosamax Plus D)

Alendronate inhibits osteoclast activity and bone resorption. By binding to calcium salts, alendronate blocks the transformation of calcium phosphate into hydroxyapatite and inhibits the formation, aggregation, and dissolution of hydroxyapatite crystals in bone. Alendronate increases bone mineral density (BMD) at the spine by 8% and the hip by 3.5%. It reduces the incidence of vertebral fractures by 47% and nonvertebral fractures by 50% over 3 years. Alendronate is approved for the treatment and prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, male osteoporosis, and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)

Risedronate is a potent antiresorptive agent that does not affect bone mineralization. The inclusion of an amino group within the heterocyclic ring makes risedronate one of the most potent antiresorptive bisphosphonates. As with other bisphosphonates, risedronate inhibits osteoclast formation and activity. Risedronate increases BMD at the spine by 5.4% and the hip by 1.6%. It reduces vertebral fractures by 41% and nonvertebral fractures by 39% over 3 years. It is approved for the treatment and prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, male osteoporosis, and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

Calcitonin salmon (Miacalcin, Fortical)

Calcitonin is used for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in women more than 5 years post menopause with low bone mass relative to healthy premenopausal females. Calcitonin-salmon injection should be reserved for patients who refuse or cannot tolerate estrogens or in whom estrogens are contraindicated. Use of calcitonin-salmon injection is recommended in conjunction with adequate calcium and vitamin D intake to prevent the progressive loss of bone mass. It inhibits osteoclastic bone resorption and has some analgesic effects in patients with fractures.

Although no research data support the idea that the use of intranasal calcitonin reduces the incidence of fractures, studies do show an increase in BMD with the use of calcitonin. Calcitonin increases BMD at the lumbar spine by 1-1.5%. It reduces the incidence of spine fracture by 33% in groups receiving 200 IU/day. It is available in parenteral and intranasal forms; however, the intranasal form is more convenient and better tolerated.

Ibandronate (Boniva)

Ibandronate increases BMD and reduces the incidence of vertebral fractures. Ibandronate increases BMD at the spine by 5.7-6.5% and the hip by 2.4-2.8%. It reduces vertebral fractures by 50% with intermittent (nondaily) dosing over 3 years; it has no effects on reduction of nonvertebral fractures. Ibandronate is approved for the treatment and prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis. It is available as a 150-mg oral tablet and intravenous solution.

Zoledronic acid (Reclast)

Zoledronic acid inhibits bone resorption by altering osteoclast activity and by inhibiting normal endogenous, as well as tumor induced, mediators of bone degradation. Like other bisphosphonates, zoledronic acid binds to hydroxyapatite crystals in mineralized bone matrix. The binding to calcium phosphates slows the dissolution of hydroxyapatite crystals, as well as inhibits the formation and aggregation of these crystals. It increases BMD at the spine by 4.3-5.1% and at the hip by 3.1-3.5%, as compared with placebo. It reduces the incidence of spine fractures by 70%, hip fractures by 41%, and nonvertebral fractures by 25% over 3 years. Zoledronic acid is approved for the treatment and prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, osteoporosis in men, and Paget disease of bone. It is contraindicated in patients with severe renal failure.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!