What are teriparatide and parathyroid hormone and why are they prescribed?
Parathyroid hormone is naturally produced by four small glands in the neck and helps regulate calcium levels in your blood. Teriparatide is very similar to the naturally occurring hormone. It helps new bone formation and so reduces the risk of fractures. A synthetic form of the hormone itself is also available.
Teriparatide is usually used only in severe cases of osteoporosis, particularly:
- in people with several fractures
- in people with very low bone density
- when other treatments haven't been effective.
It's important to continue treatment as your doctor advises – even though you won't be able to feel whether it's working.
Is there any reason I shouldn't have teriparatide or parathyroid hormone?
Teriparatide and parathyroid hormone must not be given if you have:
- high calcium levels
- overactive parathyroid glands
- cancers that involve the bone
- Paget's disease.
These treatments should not be given if you've had radiotherapy to your bones, for example as part of breast cancer treatment.