Research: Calcium supplements key to osteoporosis treatment

Share this content:

Many people use prescription drugs to treat osteoporosis, but they might not be getting the greatest effect from the drugs because they lack sufficient calcium and vitamin D, according to recent research.

People make the mistake of assuming that calcium and vitamin intake are no longer important once prescription therapy for osteoporosis begins, according to Dr. John A. Sunyecz. He co-authored an article on the subject that appears in the March issue of The Journal of Women's Health.

Medications for osteoporosis do not contain calcium and have been proven most effective when taken with adequate calcium and vitamin D, Sunyecz said. He recommends dietary supplements to achieve recommended levels. Most people find it difficult to get enough calcium through diet alone.

While there was a five-fold increase in prescriptions for bisphosphonates from 1994 to 2003, the number of osteoporosis patients who were treated with calcium supplements decreased by nearly 50% during that same period, according to the report. Bisphosphonates are one category of osteoporosis drugs.