Medicines Which May Cause Bone Loss

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Some medicines can harm your bones, especially when taken in high doses or for a long time. One commonly used medicine posing a risk for bones includes steroid medicine taken to reduce inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or asthma and for other reasons.

Ask your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of any medicines you take and how they may affect your bones. Do not stop any treatment or change the dose of your medicines unless your healthcare provider says it’s safe to do so. If you require a medicine that causes bone loss, ask your healthcare provider for the lowest possible dose to control your symptoms.

Medicines which may cause bone loss include:

  • Aluminum-containing antacids
  • Antiseizure medicines such as Dilantin® or Phenobarbital
  • Aromatase inhibitors such as Arimidex®, Aromasin® and Femara®
  • Cancer chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Cyclosporine A and FK506 (Tacrolimus)
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) such as Lupron® and Zoladex®
  • Heparin
  • Lithium
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception (Depo-Provera®)
  • Methotrexate
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium®, Prevacid® and Prilosec®
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Lexapro®, Prozac® and Zoloft®
  • Steroids (glucocorticoids) such as cortisone and prednisone
  • Tamoxifen® (premenopausal use)
  • Thiazolidinediones such as Actos® and Avandia®
  • Thyroid hormones in excess

Note: This list may not include all medicines that may cause bone loss.

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