Are “Scary Bone Drugs” Necessary to Prevent Fractures?


I've been categorized as a high risk for bone fracture. Are those scary bone drugs absolutely necessary? I'm small boned so maybe the DEXA scan didn't consider that. Is it too late for me to start a rigorous routine of supplements, diet, and strength training instead?


A Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scan is a bone density test that calculates a person’s bone fracture risk. Unfortunately, this test only compares your results to those of an average healthy young woman; thus resulting in misleading information about your bone health since it will almost always indicate bone loss. People who have been categorized with high-risk fracture are probably familiar with the term “osteopenia,” meaning that your bone density is below the average of a young woman’s. This term is utilized by the medical community to promote unnecessary drug treatments, such as bisphosphonates. Click here to learn more about other drug treatments.

Bisphosphonates, or “scary bone drugs,” may actually increase your risk of unprovoked fractures in the thigh bone! The NWHN advises against their use as a preventative measure because of high risk and minor benefits. Rather than pursue treatment that concerns you, some women consider alternative approaches. In this case, you could consider reducing the risk of fractures through subtle lifestyle changes. Supplements such as calcium and vitamin D pills increase calcium absorption and build healthier bones.

Exercises such as strength training, Tai Chi and yoga improve strength and balance, which may help prevent falls. Ensure good vision by taking an annual exam and maintaining an up-to-date prescription. Wearing appropriate shoes that help prevent slips is another option. Review any prescription drugs with your doctor to identify medications that may induce dizziness or drowsiness. Also, remove potential health hazards in your home by checking for lumpy rugs, slippery bath mats, and dim light bulbs. A compilation of these changes may provide greater benefits than prescription drugs. As always, speak to your doctor about your options to clarify your understanding and establish an effective treatment.

The information in this response is taken from “Standing Tall against Falls & Fractures,” “More Support for Osteoporosis Prevention – Not Osteoporosis Drugs” and “Young Feminist: Bone Health Is for All.”

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