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J Endocrinol Invest. 2005;28(8 Suppl):41-9.

Parathyroid hormone as an anabolic therapy for women and men.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. JPB2@Columbia.edu


The quest for effective treatment of osteoporosis merits great attention because of the widespread, worldwide prevalence of this disease. Antiresorptive drugs reduce bone turnover, increase bone density and improve other aspects of bone quality. This article concentrates on another approach, namely the use of anabolic therapy in which the prospects for improving bone quality are even greater. Parathyroid hormone is available as the aminoterminal fragment, PTH(1-34), known as teriparatide, and is being studied in its full-length form, PTH(1-84). Teriparatide improves bone quality by actions on bone turnover, bone density, bone size and microarchitecture. In women, teriparatide reduces both vertebral and non-vertebral fractures. In individuals who have been treated previously with an antiresorptive agent, the ability of PTH to increase bone density may be reduced. Combination therapy with teriparatide or PTH(1-84) and an antiresorptive does not appear, at this time, to offer advantages over the use of parathyroid hormone alone. In order to maintain the densitometric gains in bone density with parathyroid hormone, it is important to follow its use with an antiresorptive agent.

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