Forteo (teriparatide)

What is Forteo ?
  • Forteo is the same as the active portion of a naturally occurring hormone called Parathyroid Hormone or PTH.
  • It works by stimulating bone building and reducing bone breakdown.
  • It results in an increase in bone mass, improvement in bone structure and reduction in risk of fractures of the spine, as well as non-spine fractures.
  • It is used in men and postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who are at high risk for fractures, or who cannot use other osteoporosis treatments.

How would I take Forteo ?
  • Forteo is a self-administered injection that is given daily. The dose is 20 mcg.
  • Typical course of treatment is for two years
  • It can be taken any time of day, but it is best to take it at about the same time each day.
  • A health professional will teach you how to use the Forteo pen to give this medication.
  • Injections are typically given into the thigh or abdomen.
  • You can take Forteo with or without food or drink.
  • The Forteo pen should be kept capped when not in use and refrigerated.
  • Do not freeze and do not use if the medication has been frozen.
  • Each pen contains 28 days of medication and should be discarded after 28 days, even if there is a little bit of medicine left.

What if I miss a dose of Forteo ?
  • If you forget or unable to take Forteo at your usual time, take it as soon as possible on that day.
  • Do not take more than one injection in the same day.

What are the possible side effects of Forteo ?
  • Side effects with Forteo are not common, but may include:
    • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness and palpitations after the first dose or two
    • Leg cramps
    • High blood calcium [which might be associated with nausea, vomiting, constipation, low energy or muscle weakness]
    • Injection site reactions [which might include redness, swelling, itching, pain, or bruising]
    • It is also important to know that as part of drug testing prior to FDA approval, Forteo was given to laboratory rats for a significant part of their lifetime at a high dose. Some of these rats developed a bone cancer called osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma in humans is a serious, but very rare, cancer. To date there is no evidence that humans treated with Forteo have a higher incidence of osteosarcoma. It is recommended that individuals who have risk factors for osteosarcoma avoid Forteo.

Are there people who should not use Forteo ?
  • Remember that your doctor will prescribe this medication for you if the benefits to you are greater than the risk of side effects.
  • This medication is not recommended:
    • If you have a bone disease called Paget’s Disease
    • If you have unexplained high levels on a bone enzyme called alkaline phosphatase measured on blood work
    • If you are a child or a growing young adult
    • If you have ever had bone cancer or a cancer that has spread to bone
    • If you have received radiation to your skeleton
    • If you have a high blood calcium
    • If you are pregnant or could become pregnant
    • If you are nursing
    • If you have an allergy to Forteo or one of its ingredients
    • If you cannot give yourself an injection and do not have someone who can do it for you

This is a summary of key information about Forteo and does not take the place of discussion with your doctor. Always ask your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider if you have any questions about Forteo or osteoporosis. Successful prevention or treatment of osteoporosis involves more than medication and includes a balanced diet with adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D, avoidance of cigarette smoking and daily weight bearing exercise activities.