(BPT) – Excessive bone density loss can lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which significantly increases a person’s risk for fracture. Women specifically can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years after menopause,1 and up to half of all women over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.2 Postmenopausal osteoporosis, the most common form of the disease,3 is a condition that weakens bones over time, making them thinner, more brittle, and more likely to break.1
Tony and Emmy-award winning actress Blythe Danner knows firsthand what it means to live with postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture. Diagnosed with postmenopausal osteoporosis, Blythe was determined to take charge of her bones.
“I love being on stage and spending time with my family,” said Blythe, who’s not only an accomplished actress but also a grandmother. “When I was first diagnosed with postmenopausal osteoporosis, and my doctor told me I was at high risk for fracture, it made me feel a bit more fragile. That’s why I do all I can to help strengthen my bones every day.”
Every woman past menopause should make strengthening her bones a priority. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a silent disease that usually has no symptoms until a fracture happens, and a fracture can be a life-changing event. It can make it harder to get around and do things on your own. Once a person suffers an initial fracture, they are at 86 percent greater risk of another fracture.4
In Blythe’s case, she consulted her doctor and decided on a treatment plan that worked for her, which includes a healthy diet, exercise and the prescription medicine Prolia® (denosumab).
Prolia® is a prescription used to treat osteoporosis in women after menopause who are at high risk for fracture, meaning women who have had a fracture related to osteoporosis, or who have multiple risk factors for fracture; or cannot use another osteoporosis medicine or other osteoporosis medicines did not work well. Prolia® isn’t right for everyone. Do not take Prolia® if you have low blood calcium; or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, as Prolia® may harm your unborn baby; or are allergic to denosumab or any ingredients in Prolia®.
Prolia® helps stop the development of bone-removing cells before they can reach and damage the bone, and may help reduce risk for fractures in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture.5 Prolia® is a shot given two times a year under the skin (subcutaneous) by a healthcare professional. You should take calcium and vitamin D as your doctor tells you to while you receive Prolia®.6
Women with postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture should talk to their doctor about a well-rounded treatment plan that is right for them. It’s up to each individual and her doctor to work together to make sure bone health is a priority. Doing all you can to develop strong bones, get the right kind of exercise, and get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet are all important parts of the postmenopausal osteoporosis management plan.
If you are a postmenopausal woman taking an osteoporosis medication, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends testing bone density every one to two years after initiating therapy (or more frequently, as recommended by your doctor).7 Routine testing of bone density is very important—even if you know you have postmenopausal osteoporosis and are taking steps to manage it with prescription medication, along with calcium and vitamin D, diet, and exercise as these tests help doctors understand how bone density changes over time.7
Today, Blythe says about her treatment plan, “My doctor said my bones are actually getting stronger with the help of Prolia®.” Her advice to other women? “Be proactive. Work with your doctor to help strengthen your bones today. And if there’s a woman in your life you think might be at risk, talk to them about what they can do as well.”
Know Your Risk:
- Are you female and over the age of 50?1
- Have you suffered from a fracture in the past?4
- Do you have a family member with a history of fractures?3
- Is your lifestyle more sedentary than active?3
- Do you smoke or regularly consume excessive amounts of alcohol?3
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, there’s a possibility you may have postmenopausal osteoporosis and be at high risk for fracture.
Important Safety Information
Do not take Prolia® (denosumab) if you: have low blood calcium; or are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, as Prolia® may harm your unborn baby; or are allergic to denosumab or any ingredients in Prolia®.
What is the most important information I should know about Prolia®?
If you receive Prolia®, you should not receive XGEVA®. Prolia® contains the same medicine as XGEVA® (denosumab).
Prolia® can cause serious side effects:
Serious allergic reactions have happened in people who take Prolia®. Call your doctor or go to your nearest emergency room right away if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including low blood pressure (hypotension); trouble breathing; throat tightness; swelling of your face, lips, or tongue; rash; itching; or hives.
Low blood calcium (hypocalcemia). Prolia® may lower the calcium levels in your blood. If you have low blood calcium, it may get worse during treatment. Your low blood calcium must be treated before you receive Prolia®.
Take calcium and vitamin D as your doctor tells you to help prevent low blood calcium.
Severe jaw bone problems (osteonecrosis) may occur. Your doctor should examine your mouth before you start Prolia® and may tell you to see your dentist. It is important for you to practice good mouth care during treatment with Prolia®.
Unusual thigh bone fractures. Some people have developed unusual fractures in their thigh bone. Symptoms of a fracture include new or unusual pain in your hip, groin, or thigh.
Serious infections in your skin, lower stomach area (abdomen), bladder, or ear may happen. Inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis) due to an infection may also happen more often in people who take Prolia®. You may need to go to the hospital for treatment.
Prolia® is a medicine that may affect the ability of your body to fight infections. People who have weakened immune systems or take medicines that affect the immune system may have an increased risk for developing serious infections.
Skin problems such as inflammation of your skin (dermatitis), rash, and eczema have been reported.
Bone, joint, or muscle pain. Some people who take Prolia® develop severe bone, joint, or muscle pain.
Before taking Prolia®, tell your doctor if you:
- Take the medicine XGEVA® (denosumab)
- Have low blood calcium
- Cannot take daily calcium and vitamin D
- Had parathyroid or thyroid surgery (glands located in your neck)
- Have been told you have trouble absorbing minerals in your stomach or intestines (malabsorption syndrome)
- Have kidney problems or are on kidney dialysis
- Plan to have dental surgery or teeth removed
- Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- Are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed
What are the possible side effects of Prolia®?
It is not known if the use of Prolia® over a long period of time may cause slow healing of broken bones. The most common side effects of Prolia® are back pain, pain in your arms and legs, high cholesterol, muscle pain, and bladder infection.
These are not all the possible side effects of Prolia®. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Talk to your doctor today and visit www.Prolia.com for more information about how to manage postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Prolia® is a prescription medicine used to treat osteoporosis in women after menopause who:
- are at high risk for fracture, meaning women who have had a fracture related to osteoporosis, or who have multiple risk factors for fracture
- cannot use another osteoporosis medicine or other osteoporosis medicines did not work well
1 American College of Preventative Medicine. Osteoporosis: A Resource from the American College of Preventative Medicine. 2009. Available https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.acpm.org/resource/resmgr/timetools-files/osteoporosisclinicalreferenc.pdf Accessed on March 5, 2015.
2 National Osteoporosis Foundation. What Women Need to Know. Available http://nof.org/articles/235. Accessed March 5, 2015.
3 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Position Statement: Osteoporosis/Bone Health in Adults as a National Public Health Priority. December 2014. Available http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/position/1113.asp Accessed on March 5, 2015.
4 International Osteoporosis Foundation. Epidemiology. Available http://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics Accessed March 13, 2015.
5 Prolia.com. How Prolia Works. Available http://www.prolia.com/postmenopausal-osteoporosis/how-prolia-works.html. Accessed March 13, 2015.
6 Prolia® (denosumab) Prescribing Information, Amgen.
7 National Osteoporosis Foundation. Having a Bone Density Test. Available http://nof.org/articles/743. Accessed on May 4, 2015.