Denosumab (Bone Metabolism Regulator)

Denosumab is a new class of osteoporosis treatment called a human monoclonal antibody that prevents RANKL-RANK interaction and thereby inhibits osteoclast formation. Denosumab (Prolia™) is the first treatment approved by Health Canada in this class.

How does denosumab work?

Denosumab is an anti-resorptive therapy that inhibits the development and activation of osteoclasts (the cells that eat away bone).

How effective is it?

Denosumab reduces the risk of fractures at the spine, hip and other sites in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Who can take it?

Denosumab can be used to reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and in men with osteoporosis at high risk of fracture.

PROLIA is also indicated as a treatment to increase bone mass in men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), who are at high risk for fracture, and as a treatment to increase bone mass in women with nonmetastatic breast cancer receiving adjuvant aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy, who have low bone mass and are at high risk for fracture.

How is it taken?

Denosumab is administered as an injection under the skin, 60 mg/mL solution, by a trained healthcare professional twice yearly.

Are there side effects?

Side effects may include pain in the muscles, arms, legs or back and a skin condition with itching, redness and/or dryness. It also slightly increases the risk of cellulitis, a skin infection treated with antibiotics. In rare cases, osteonecrosis of the jaw has been reported in patients treated with denosumab.