What is Teriparatide?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2020
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Teriparatide is a synthetic hormone used in the treatment of osteoporosis. Approved in 2002, the medication is also involved in a number of clinical trials to determine if there are additional applications. Teriparatide was developed by Eli Lilly and Company and is sold under the brand name Forteo®. Costs for the medication vary, depending on a number of factors.

This medication is a form of recombinant hormone, manufactured in the laboratory environment by synthetic means instead of being produced in nature. It is available in the form of a solution that is injected into the thigh or abdomen once a day. When this medication is prescribed, patients and their caregivers are provided with detailed information about how to administer it safely and effectively. Because the medication is injected, special care must be taken during administration and a sharps container is needed to dispose of used needles.

Teriparatide works in the treatment of osteoporosis by increasing mineral density in the bone. It actively promotes new bone formation, unlike most osteoporosis medications that focus on preventing additional bone resorption. Over time, the patient's skeleton can thicken and grow stronger while on this medication. This significantly reduces the risk of fractures and makes the patient less subject to complications associated with osteoporosis. Since fractures of the hip in particular can be very dangerous for osteoporosis patients, medications like teriparatide can be a valuable treatment option.


Doctors prescribe teriparatide to patients who are at high risk of fractures. Clinical studies of the medication suggest that there is an increased risk of bone cancers when teriparatide is used in the long term. As a result, people who are already at risk of developing bone cancers are not good candidates for teriparatide regimens. Patients are also advised to avoid using the medication for more than two years, as the risks of complications can increase the longer a patient takes teriparatide.

This medication is effective in the treatment of a wide range of types of osteoporosis in both men and women. When it is prescribed, patients should ask their physicians why the medication is being prescribed, how to use it, and whether it has any known interactions with existing medications. While a doctor provides detailed instructions in the use of teriparatide, it is also advisable to ask for clarification if there is any confusion about how to use the medication. A pharmacist can provide additional information about using and storing the medication safely.


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