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A new class of osteoporosis treatments called bone formation agents

Parathyroid hormone analogues belong to a class of osteoporosis medications which can promote bone growth. In Canada, there are currently three commercially available products in this class. The generic name of these medications is teriparatide. Forteo® is the original, brand name version of teriparatide. Teva-teriparatide is a generic version of Forteo®, and can be used interchangeably with Forteo®. Osnuvo® is a biosimilar version of Forteo®, meaning the active ingredient is similar to Forteo®. Although Forteo® and Osnuvo® are not considered interchangeable, they are likely to work similarly in terms of efficacy in preventing fractures.

How Does Teriparatide Injection Work?

The mechanism by which bone is constantly renewed is called bone remodelling. Teriparatide works on the bone remodelling process so that new bone is generated and added to the skeleton faster than old bone is broken down. It does this by activating osteoblasts (bone-building cells).

How Effective is It?

Teriparatide injections have been shown to increase bone density and reduce the risk of vertebral, hip and other fractures associated with osteoporosis.

Who Can Take It?

Teriparatide is used for the treatment of postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis who are at high risk of fracture. It is also used in postmenopausal women who did not tolerate or do well with other osteoporosis medications. Teriparatide is used to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis associated with low testosterone levels, who have failed or are intolerant to previous osteoporosis therapy. For both men and women, teriparatide can also be used for the treatment of glucocorticoid (steroid) induced osteoporosis for those who are at increased risk of fracture.

How is it Taken?

Teriparatide is taken as an injection just under the skin into the thigh or abdominal wall. The injection is 20 mcg (micrograms) once a day. The injections are self-administered. One course of teriparatide should not last longer than 24 months. If you have previously used Forteo® or Teva-teriparatide, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not you can use Osnuvo®. No one should take more than 24 months of teriparatide therapy, whether it is Forteo®, Teva-teriparatide or Osnuvo®.

Are There Side Effects?

Possible side effects include dizziness, nausea, pain in and around joints, and leg cramps.

If you experience ongoing nausea, vomiting, constipation, low energy, or muscle weakness, contact your healthcare professional. These could be signs that the calcium levels in your blood are too high.

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