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If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you're not alone-10 million Americans have this condition. Still, you're probably wondering: Now what? Currently, there are a number of medicinal therapies available to treat the bone weakening and loss characteristic of osteoporosis. A group of medications called bisphosphonates are often used to treat and prevent osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates includes aldendronate, which is marketed as Fosamax, and risendronate, sold under the name Actonel. Bisphosphonates work by entering the body and binding to the cement-like substance in bones, hydroxyapatite. In doing so, the medication interferes with the activity of bone-destroying osteoclasts. By blocking osteoclasts, bone-building cells known as osteoblasts have an opportunity to play catch-up, filling in more holes than are being made. Both aldendronate and risendronate are approved to treat AND prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, and aldendronate can also be prescribed for men. Bisphosphonates can also treat osteoporosis that arises from taking corticosteroid medications. When prescribed by your doctor, these medications should be taken first thing in the morning, with a full glass of water on an empty stomach. Afterwards, remain upright for half an hour, avoiding food and beverages. Following these instructions carefully can prevent heartburn, nausea and trouble swallowing, which are common side-effects of bisphosphonates. Another option available only to women is a drug called raloxifene, which is marketed under the brand name Evista. Raloxifene is a member of a drug class called selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs. Raloxifene is approved to prevent and treat osteoporosis in women. It's also a good option for women with a high risk of breast cancer, as it can reduce cancer risk by up to 76 percent. Another drug that can treat (although not prevent), osteoporosis in both sexes is teriparatide, sold under the name Forteo. Teriparatide is the only treatment that can actually reverse bone loss. Teriparatide is a synthetic version of parathyroid hormone, or PTH, which is naturally produced by the body. It helps build new bone by increasing the number and activity of friendly osteoblasts. Teriparatide is available as a once-a-day injection and is only recommended for people who have osteoporosis AND a particularly high risk for fractures. Other medications, including hormone therapy and calcitonin, are also available to treat osteoporosis, although they are used less frequently. While taking osteoporosis medication, never underestimate the importance of prudent weight-bearing exercise, and the intake of calcium, in helping to prevent osteoporosis fractures. Remember: Not every medication is for everyone. It's important to discuss the pros and cons of every option with your doctor, and to follow your physician's instructions exactly.