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Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

Posted by downsouth (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 3, 04 at 0:47

I can't sleep because of being told I will be injecting myself with Forteo injections one a day for 18 months. At first, it scared me too death, but a week after being diagnosed with severe osteoporosis, I am starting to get used to the diagnosis. I am still puzzled over why my diagnosis was listed as "severe" and I was put on Forteo as my first medication, reason being I have NEVER had a fracture.(yet)
My results on my test pages are from the World Health Organization Classification which show that a T-score of less than -2.5 "and" associated with one or more fragility fractures", the condition is considered severe osteoporosis. My score is -3.1, but I have never had a fracture. Wouldn't I be listed under just osteoporosis and not severe and I could take pills? I have already discussed this with my doctor and he says this is the best treatment out for osteoporosis.

My results go on to say "Based on this patient's T-score, the patient's fracture risk is increased in the lumbar spine and recommend appropriate treatment and followup in one year to monitor the effects of therapy." When they say "therapy" do they actually mean "treatment plan"?

Is anyone else taking Forteo that hasn't had a fracture YET? If you are out there, it sure would make me feel better not to be alone. Maybe my doctor is just being on the safe side and not taking a risk.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

Treatment = Therapy. Therapy = Treatment Both are to correct a condition. Osteoporosis can be a dreadful disease. The time to treat it is as soon as possible. The purpose of building up bone is to keep fractures from happening. Anyone with Osteoporosis that does not have a fracture is very lucky.

These fractures are not like a fractured leg or arm. The patient may not even be aware that it has happened. Nor do they have to be in a cast or brace.....the spine just gets more crooked as the tiny little fractures heal. All it takes is lifting something, like a grandchild, or twisting too much to get out of a chair. women have been known to fracture a hip just by stepping off a curb.

I am sure you have seen the elderly that are so bent over that they can hardly walk. Or the woman with the big humped over shoulders. Both may be the result of the fractures that come with Osteoporosis.

I am thinking that your -3.1 reading is WORSE than the -2.5 reading if 0 is a normal reading and + 1 is very good. Maybe someone else can give you the scoop on that.

It's your decision.. You might never have any trouble with it. But if you do, you will not have an easily correctable condition.

In the meantime, get plenty of calcium rich food. If you smoke, stop. Coffee, carbonated drinks and tea also help deplete your stores of calcium in your bones.

RE: More---

Have you discussed with your doctor the problems you might have with the cost of the Forteo injections? I would think that he would rather have you on Fosamax (sp?) than have you start on Forteo and then quit? I can see how 18 months of the shots could get to be quite a burden.

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

PeaBee, I met with my doctor on Tuesday and discussed the cost of the medication. He said DH's insurance should cover most of it. I have my prescription and am taking it to my pharmacist in the morning, just to see what this is going to cost us the next 18 months.

I appreciate you explaining the fractures to me. I thought they were the "normal" fractures, so now I understand this better. I have ordered some books on osteoporosis as I know nothing about this disease.

I'm not a smoker but am very overweight. My family doctor put me on a diet this week, a very low calorie diet, and I have to go back to him in 3 months. In the meantime, I have had a lot of bloodwork done requested by both doctors. I will be anxious to find out in the morning what my part of these injections will cost us.

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

Downsouth, I think I posted this before in another thread, but my Mom, who had never had a bone density test (while I've had 2) had a compression fracture of her upper spine a year ago....she is just now beginning to feel like herself again but I don't think she'll ever be 100%. Before the fracture, caused by osteoporosis and a heavy lifting movement, she did all her own housework, did volunteer work, swam 5 afternoons per week at her Y, was confident doing freeway driving, and yard work? She was climbing ladders, swinging a weedeater, pruning, mowing....All of that stopped. It was months before she could even carry a sack of groceries into the kitchen for herself, bend over to fill her cats dish, tie her shoes.

This was an extremely painful fracture and changed her lifelong attitude toward not taking pain medication in a hurry. She became depressed over the semi-isolation the inactivity caused, had weeks of rest, physical therapy, kyphoplasty (outpatient spinal surgery), more physical therapy, meds, more rest.

These compression fractures are very hard to deal with, when the bone just kind of collapses. Worst case scenario, loss of leg function. If it's financially possible, and you don't have side effects that decrease the quality of your life, please treat this agressively....and do whatever you must return the strength to your vertebrae. One wrong movement could easily lead to a full year dedicated to healing.

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

I just finished reading Ann Richards' book on osteoporosis - I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning my battle with Osteoporosis. It was very interesting, plus she had some professional input into the book from her doctors and her trainer.
Although I am ~40, I am interested in knowing more about the disease as my grandmother had severe osteoporosis. I know how much it limited her later years and I don't want to be in the same boat years from now. (I actually had a bone scan done several years ago - was in a bad car accident and the radiologist who read my spinal x-rays said that one of my vertebreas was completely disintegrated due to osteoporosis - went for bone scan and found out that my bones were great - but my spine was a twisted mess from the accident - think the radiologist was stoned or asleep when he read my x-rays!)
Anyway - one thing I have always read and heard about the disease is that too many women (and men!) find out that they have it AFTER they have a fracture or broken bone. At that point, it may be too late to do much for the bones and rehab for the patient may be too hard - especially in the case of a broken hip. A large number of older people die from broken hip bones (not really a bone, actually, but the top part of the leg bone) and the complications from such a bad break. Many doctors, sadly, do not do much in the way of preventative medicine. It is good to have a doctor that is taking strong measures now to help with your long-term health.
In addition to diet (eat calcium-rich foods, no soda, limit caffeine), weight bearing exercise is very important for building up bone strength - that includes walking, water aerobics and weight lifting. My grandmother got a kick out of taking up weight lifting at age 75! Not only does light exercise help build up your bones, it also helps with your balance which is very, very important with osteoporosis.
Best wishes ~ Suzie

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

The latest news is my insurance company is declining to pay for the Forteo injections, which my pharmacist said is $689 a month! If they don't pay for it, I surely can't afford that. I am waiting on a call from my doctor in the morning, as I am supposed to go to a class this Wednesday to learn how to give myself the shots.

Osteoporosis runs in my family,I have 4 sisters who have it, along with degen. disc disease. It has really scared me and I have really been so careful about how I walk, how I bend, how I get up. I was also doing a lot of yard work, which I loved to do, cutting the grass, etc., and a lot of painting in the house. I had to give up all of this because of back pain and then when I learned I had osteoporosis, I was afraid of breaking a bone. I do need to learn how to live with osteoporosis and I have been looking at a lot of different books on this subject, but haven't ordered any yet.

I do hope my insurance co. will agree to pay for these injections. I am no longer scared of the needle anymore and I believe I can do it. My sister gives herself insulin shots every day, so she said if I can do it, you can!

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections


RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

Just learned my T-scores dropped from -2.3 to -4.3 in 21 months and doc has prescribed Forteo while we are trying to determine why the sudden big drop. Giving myself the shots is a breeze as it is a tiny needle maybe 1/4 inch long. I am thankful he prescribed Forteo and not one of the bisphosphonates like Fosamax, Boniva, etc. Those things disable the osteoclasts which remove old bone and also disable the osteoblasts, which build bone. They remain disabled for a long time after discontinuing the medication. I need to build bone and doc said he has never known Forteo to not be effective in doing this. Doc does not think my medicare HMO will approve the drug and if not, I will challenge them. It is ridiculous for insurance companies to deny us the one medication that has been shown to stimulate bone growth and approve the medications that stop bone growth. Good luck!

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

I've been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis and am waiting to start Forteo injections. The insurance co. is holding things up as we have to wait until my case is reviewed by their medical team to determine if I'll get any insurance coverage. Since it's the only medication that builds bone (fills in the holes) I absolutely want to get the treatment. I'm just glad that there is a drug like this that will prevent further damage to my spinal column. I have a compression fracture at L1, have no idea how it happened and it hasn't caused any pain.

RE: Osteoporosis and Forteo Injections

My arthritis doc wanted to do the 4 month med and my medical doc said NO. If you are allergic to it, you can't remove it.

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