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Osteoporosis

Bonebuilding Medication for Young Women

05/03/2002

Question:

Osteoporosis runs in our family. I have it (age 57). My daughter has osteopenia (age 32). Her doctor suggests Actonel. Is Actonel appropriate for a young woman? Or should it only be used for those beyond the child-bearing years? How about Fosamax or Evista for young women? Her estrogen levels are normal.

Answer:

Most experts do not put premenopausal women on osteoporosis medications unless they actually have osteoporosis or are very high risk by being on steroid medications or are found to have some underlying medical problem. It would be important to know that there were no other predisposing factors for your family members with osteoporosis - like excess loss of calcium from the kidneys (a history of kidney stones might suggest that). Such problems can run in the family. If no other causes can be found for your daughter, it would be good to encourage healthy diet, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and exercise. At menopause she could consider hormone replacement for continued bone preservation if it seems appropriate with the new data that will be available then.

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Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati