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Calcium Infusion for Osteoporosis

by
author image Amber Keefer
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.
Calcium Infusion for Osteoporosis
Senior woman in bed with a thermometer in her mouth Photo Credit mheim3011/iStock/Getty Images

Treatment for osteoporosis can help increase bone density and protect against bone fractures. Post-menopausal women are at greater risk of fractures because of bone loss they experience after menopause. Calcium infusions increase bone density, reducing the risk of hip and spine fractures. Depending on the medication you choose, this type of osteoporosis treatment is administered once every three months or once a year to prevent or treat postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Side Effects

Common side effects of calcium infusion treatment include flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and muscle or joint pain. Taking acetaminophen may help reduce these side effects, which usually occur less frequently following subsequent treatments. Calcium infusion also poses the risk of some potentially serious side effects including low blood calcium levels, a rare type of thigh bone fracture, severe kidney problems or osteonecrosis – problems with the jawbone. Some individuals experience allergic reactions such as hives or swelling of the face, lips or tongue. Contact your doctor if you develop these or other symptoms including numbness, tingling or severe bone, joint or muscle pain.

Warning

Women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or nursing should not receive calcium infusion. You should not get this treatment if you have kidney problems or low blood calcium. Inform your doctor of all prescription and non-prescription medications and nutritional and herbal supplements you currently are taking. Some of these may interact adversely with calcium infusion. You should not have the treatment if you are already receiving a medication that contains zoledronic acid. Calcium infusion treatment is prescribed in place of oral osteoporosis medications.

Treatment

Your doctor may order a blood test prior to treatment to check your blood calcium level and kidney function. Drink two glasses of water a few hours before receiving treatment to help prevent kidney problems. The intravenous treatment takes about 15 minutes. You can resume your normal activities after receiving treatment. Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements daily can help you maintain blood calcium levels. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions.

How the Medication Works

Bisphosphonates – medications usually prescribed to treat osteoporosis – work by preserving bone density. Treatment with bisphosphonates is safe and effective. Studies show that treatment for up to five years can prevent fractures of the hip and spine, according to Mayo Clinic. The effectiveness of these drugs after five years is less certain without more long-term research. Your doctor may eventually stop osteoporosis treatment for a time if you’ve been treated for more than five years and have a low risk of bone fracture. Beneficial effects of the drugs may continue as bisphosphonates build up in bone. Dr. Kurt Kennel, an endocrinology specialist at Mayo Clinic explains that in some cases, a woman may be able to stop treatment for one to five years.

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