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Medications That Cause Osteoporosis: 11 Risky Drugs You Need To Know About

Medications that cause osteoporosis are numerous and common. While helping to correct one problem, they may be putting you at greater risk of having osteoporosis.

Common medications that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis include drugs taken for acid reflux, high blood pressure, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory intestinal illness (Crohn's disease), thyroid conditions, cancer, seizures and endometriosis.

Here's a quick list of a number of medications that cause osteoporosis if taken for long periods without a preventive program of minerals and vitamins.

1. Steroids Or Corticosteroids

Steroids and Corticosteroids are the most common drug-related cause of osteoporosis. They are used for a wide variety of conditions, including inflammatory intestinal illness, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis as well as to suppress the immune system after a transplant.

These drugs may be prescribed as a pill, injection, a spray or a skin cream. When used for a short time or injected into a joint or swollen area there is no effect on bone health, but when used for long periods of time (3 months or more) they begin to destroy the bone-building process.

Some of the more frequently prescribed steroid drugs are prednisone, prednisolone, Medrol, Deltasone, Decadron, cortisone, Cortel, Celestone, and Aristocort.

Studies show that within the first year after starting corticosteroid therapy, patients lose an average 14 percent of their bone mineral content.

Anyone on long-term steroids should have a bone density scan, use bone-building supplements, join an exercise class that includes weight training and possibly begin taking a medication to prevent the inevitable bone loss.

2. Thyroid Medication

The thyroid is a powerful gland that regulates metabolism. Recent studies in Canada indicate that 30% (over 10 million people) suffer from a thyroid condition of one type or another...although as many as 50% may be undiagnosed.

Long-term use of medications to control thyroid activity (hypothyroid or hyperthyroid) can seriously interfere with both bone-repair and bone-building health.

3. Antacids With Aluminum

One of the most common medications that cause osteoporosis (because they lead to low stomach acid) include prescription drugs used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, excess stomach acid and ulcers.

Some of these antacids are salts derived from mineral sources, including aluminum which impedes the absorption of calcium.

Popular aluminum-based antacids include: Aludros, Amphojel, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Kolantyl, Maalox, Mylanta, Riopan.

Non-aluminum-based antacids include Alka-Seltzer, Bisodol, Mylicon, Rolaids*, Titralac* and Tums*.

The antacids with an asterisk (*) contain calcium carbonate, which helps with bone building when combined with vitamin D and other minerals and vitamins.

4. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton pump inhibitors (or PPIs) are a group of drugs designed to reduce gastric acid production.

They are among the most widely-prescribed drugs in the world and are used in the treatment of conditions such as acid reflux, stress gastritis and peptic ulcers.

There is a growing amount of research suggesting that prolonged use of these drugs can inhibit calcium absorption and cause osteoporosis.

5. Antibiotics

Frequent or prolonged use of antibiotics, especially tetracycline, can impair healthy bone structure and function.

Taking probiotics while on antibiotics and at least one month afterwards will help to protect your bones.

Six months supply of probiotics can cost as little as $6.

6. Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsant medication (used to prevent seizures) inhibits the liver’s ability to metabolize vitamin D3, which helps the body to absorb calcium.

Phenytoin (trade name Dilantin) is the most commonly used anticonvulsant and Phenobarbital is also used.

Since these drugs must be taken for a lifetime, it is important to use effective calcium supplements along with a healthy diet and exercise.

7. Diuretics

The medications that cause osteoporosis include diuretics or water pills used to increase the volume of urine in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

Loop diuretics are a particular problem for bone development as they cause the kidneys to excrete excess calcium. The most popular forms of this drug are Lasix, Aldactone, Dyazide, Bumes, Diamox and Edecrin.

On the other hand, thiazide diuretics actually help you to preserve calcium because they decrease the urinary excretion of calcium.

Hyrodiuril and hyrodthiazide are diuretics of this class commonly prescribed for mild high blood pressure, for water retention and sometimes along with other high blood pressure medications.

8. Heparin And Coumadin (Warfarin)

Blood-thinners or anticoagulants used for the treatment of heart problems can inhibit calcium absorption and bone-building.

9. Lithium

Lithium is used to treat patients with a bipolar disorder- a condition marked by periods of euphoria and high energy alternating with depression.

One of its side effects is the increased production of parathyroid hormone, which in turn increases the breakdown of bone.

10. Methotrexate

Another of the medications that cause osteoporosis over the long-term is methotrexate, which is sometimes used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, psoriasis, and other immune disorders.

11. Gonadotropin

Gonadotropin, a releasing hormone used to treat endometriosis may also cause a loss of bone density.