Drugs for the management of osteoporosis: a review

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass with micro architectural deterioration of bone tissue leading to enhance bone fragility, thus increasing the susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis is an important public health problem leading to an increased risk of developing spontaneous and traumatic fractures. In India osteoporotic fractures occur more commonly in both sexes, and may occur at a younger age than in the western countries. Although exact numbers are not available, based on available data and clinical experience, 36 million Indians may be affected by osteoporosis by 2013. This would be associated with enormous costs and considerable consumption of health resources. Pharmacological therapies that effectively reduce the number of fractures by improving bone mass are now available widely in markets. At present most drugs available in the markets decrease bone loss by inhibiting bone resorption, but the upcoming therapies may increase bone mass by directly increasing bone mass as is the case of parathyroid hormone. Current treatment alternatives include bisphosphonates, calcitonin, selective estrogen receptor modulators and inhibitors of RANK pathway but sufficient calcium and vitamin D are a prerequisite. Newer osteoclast targeted agents like cathepsin K and c-src kinase are under clinical development. The therapies which target osteoblasts include the agents acting through the Wnt-β catenin signaling pathway like Dkk-1 inhibitors and sclerostin antagonists. To further improve pharmacological interventions and therapeutical choices in this field, improvement of knowledge is very necessary

osteoporosis; osteoblast; antiresorptive agents; postmenopausal; bisphosphonates

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