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 2.
Common side effects of calcium infusion treatment include flu-like symptoms such as:
- 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.
- Common side effects of calcium infusion treatment include flu-like symptoms such as: * fever
* 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.
Does Calcium Cause Headaches?
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.
- Women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or nursing should not receive calcium infusion.
- You should not have the treatment if you are already receiving a medication that contains zoledronic acid.
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.
- 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.
How the Medication Works
How Does a Supraspinatus Tendon Heal Itself?
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.
- Bisphosphonates – medications usually prescribed to treat osteoporosis – work by preserving bone density.
- Studies show that treatment for up to five years can prevent fractures of the hip and spine, according to Mayo Clinic.
Does Calcium Cause Headaches?
How Does a Supraspinatus Tendon Heal Itself?
Medications That Can Raise Calcium Levels in the Blood
Viactiv Calcium Chews Side Effects
What Are the Treatments for Bone Spurs on the Leg Bone?
Top Bone Diseases
Iodine's Effect on Calcium Absorption
Ibuprofen & Calcium
Is Calcium Good for Gout?
How to Treat Calcium Deposits on the Skin
- Reclast; Treatment Overview; 2011
- Reclast; Postmenopausal Osteoporosis Treatment Information; 2011
- Woo J, Kwok T, Leung J, Tang N. Dietary intake, blood pressure and osteoporosis. J Hum Hypertens. 2009;23(7):451-5. doi:10.1038/jhh.2008.156
- Shanb AA, Youssef EF. The impact of adding weight-bearing exercise versus nonweight bearing programs to the medical treatment of elderly patients with osteoporosis. J Family Community Med. 2014;21(3):176-81. doi:10.4103/2230-8229.142972
- Tabatabaei-malazy O, Salari P, Khashayar P, Larijani B. New horizons in treatment of osteoporosis. Daru. 2017;25(1):2. doi:10.1186/s40199-017-0167-z
- Eriksen EF. Treatment of osteopenia. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2012;13(3):209-23. doi:10.1007/s11154-011-9187-z
- Khosla S, Bilezikian JP, Dempster DW, et al. Benefits and risks of bisphosphonate therapy for osteoporosis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(7):2272-82. doi:10.1210/jc.2012-1027
- Lambrinoudaki I, Vlachou S, Galapi F, Papadimitriou D, Papadias K. Once-yearly zoledronic acid in the prevention of osteoporotic bone fractures in postmenopausal women. Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(3):445-51. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa067312
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Raloxifene Medication Guide. 2007.
- Agrawal A, Hishikar R, Agrawal M. Hormone replacement therapy in prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Journal of Orthopedics, Traumatology and Rehabilitation. 2014;7(2):119. doi:10.4103/0975-7341.165242
- McLaughlin MB, Ishwarlal J. Calcitonin. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing; 2019.
- Neer RM, Arnaud CD, Zanchetta JR, et al. Effect of parathyroid hormone (1-34) on fractures and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. N Engl J Med. 2001;344(19):1434-41. doi:10.1056/NEJM200105103441904
- Haas AV, Leboff MS. Osteoanabolic Agents for Osteoporosis. J Endocr Soc. 2018;2(8):922-932. doi:10.1210/js.2018-00118
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) for Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women - Study Results. Updated October 30, 2013.
- Lewiecki EM. Safety and tolerability of denosumab for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2011;3:79-91. doi:10.2147/DHPS.S7727
- Firanescu CE, De vries J, Lodder P, et al. Vertebroplasty versus sham procedure for painful acute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VERTOS IV): randomised sham controlled clinical trial. BMJ. 2018;361:k1551. doi:10.1136/bmj.k1551
- Pesce V, Speciale D, Sammarco G, Patella S, Spinarelli A, Patella V. Surgical approach to bone healing in osteoporosis. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2009;6(2):131-5.
- El-Fiki M. Vertebroplasty, Kyphoplasty, Lordoplasty, Expandable Devices, and Current Treatment of Painful Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures. World Neurosurgery. 2016 Jul;91:628-32. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.04.016
- Ensrud, K., and C. Crandall. Osteoporosis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2017. 167(3):ITC17-ITC32. doi: 10.7326/AITC201708010
- Khosla, S., and L. Hofbauer. Osteoporosis Treatment: Recent Developments and Ongoing Challenges. Lancet. Diabetes and Endocrinology. 2017 July 6. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30188-2
- Lehman RA, Kang DG, Wagner SC. Management of Osteoporosis in Spine Surgery. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2015 Apr;23(4):253–263. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-14-00042
- McClung, M. Using Osteoporosis Therapies in Combination. Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2017. 15(4):343-352. doi: 10.1007/s11914-017-0376-x
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.