Q & A Library
Fortical to Build Bones?
What are your thoughts on Fortical for osteopenia? I am 52. I've had no side effects, but I want your opinion on it.
Answer (Published 2/2/2010)
Fortical is a drug intended for treatment of osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass resulting in porous, brittle bones that are easily fractured. Our bones are constantly being remodeled, with bone tissue being broken down and rebuilt on a regular basis. Bone density usually increases until about the age of 30, but after that, more bone may be broken down than is being rebuilt.
I have no experience with Fortical, so I discussed your question with Victoria Maizes, M.D., executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. She noted that Fortical is calcitonin, a peptide hormone produced in the body by specialized cells in the thyroid gland and that it is not indicated for the prevention of osteoporosis - only for its treatment and, specifically, for treatment of patients following debilitating fractures.
She made the point that osteopenia is “not a disease but a marketing fad.” The term is used to indicate bone mineral density that is below normal levels but not low enough to be diagnosed as osteoporosis. Drug companies would like women to believe that osteopenia is the “precondition” leading to osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Here are my drug-free recommendations for strengthening bones:
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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