Medicines that increase risk of osteoporosis

Some medications are linked with an increased risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.

Once you know about these, you can discuss with your doctor the ways to limit their effects. Your doctor may review your medicines and possibly change the dose or even the drug. Don’t make any changes without talking to your doctor first.

Sometimes an osteoporosis drug or a supplement can be prescribed to help protect your bones from the effect of these medicines. However, if you are only taking the drug at a low dose or for a limited period, your doctor may be able to reassure you the effect on your bones is insignificant.

  • Glucocorticoid (‘steroids’) tablets for other medical conditions for over three month
  • Anti-epileptic drugs
  • Breast cancer treatments such as aromatase inhibitors
  • Prostate cancer drugs that affect either the production of the male hormone testosterone or the way it works in the body
  • Gender-reassignment treatments
  • Some contraceptive drugs, such as Depo Provera

The following medicines may increase risk of bone loss and osteoporosis, although more research is needed to understand why and establish the true impact they have on bone strength.

  • Drugs to reduce inflammation of the stomach and oesophagus, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

  • Diabetic drugs in the glitazone group, including pioglitazone

  • Injectable progestogen contraceptives such as medroxyprogesterone acetate, known as Depo Provera

  • Drugs used for mental health problems such as tricyclic antidepressants and particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)