Drug-Induced Osteoporosis: Could Your Medications Be Harming Your Bones? - Save Our Bones

Many commonly prescribed medications cause bone loss and can lead to osteoporosis. Furthermore, doctors are often unaware that the drugs they prescribe can have this effect.

Once again, it's incumbent upon Savers to look out for themselves and their bones. Today you'll get a comprehensive review of medications–both prescription and over-the-counter–that can lead to an osteoporosis or osteopenia diagnosis.

Refer to this list before you start any medication– and as always, consult with a functional or naturopathic doctor about potential non-pharmaceutical alternatives.

Drugs And Osteoporosis

When medications cause enough bone loss to warrant an osteoporosis diagnosis, the condition has a special name: Drug-Induced Osteoporosis. It's outrageous that the pharmaceutical interventions championed by the Medical Establishment can cause new health conditions.

Of course, for Big Pharma, this is only a benefit. They inevitably have another drug to prescribe for the condition caused by the prescribed drug– and on and on the cycle goes.

All drugs contribute to bone loss through acidification and the burden they place on the body's toxin filtration system, but the following medications have a direct and outsized negative impact on the health and density of your bones.1


Drug-Induced Osteoporosis occurs when a medication causes loss of bone density. While all drugs are acidifying and therefore bad for bone health, the following drugs have an additional direct negative impact on bone density.


Steroids are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, or asthma, and other health issues. Common steroids include:

  • prednisone (Deltasone, Rayos, Prednisone Intensol)
  • prednisolone (Omnipred, Pediapred, Pred Mild)
  • methyprednisolone (Medrol, Solu-Medrol, Depo-Medrol, ReadySharp, P-Care D40, P-Care D80)
  • dexamethasone (Decadron, Ozurdex, DexPak 6 Day, DexPak 13 Day, Dexamethasone, Intensol, DexPak 10 day, Maxidex, LoCort)
  • cortisone (Cortison, Cortisone, Cortisone Acetate, Cortone, Cortistab, Cortisyl, Adreson)
  • triamcinolone (Aristocort, Aristocirt Forte, Aristospan, Clinacort, Kenalog-10, Kenalog-40, Triamcot, Triam-Forte, Triesense)

Some steroids are administered with an inhaler, usually to treat asthma. These can also cause bone loss. Common inhaled steroids include:

  • fluticasone (Flovent Diskus, Flonase Allergy Relief, Aller-Flo)
  • budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy, Pulmicort, Pulmicort Flexhaler)

Diabetes Medications

Some diabetes medications increase the production of fat cells in bone marrow, displacing bone-forming osteoblasts. The two categories to look out for are thiazolidinediones (TZD) and SGLT-2 Inhibitors.

Thiazolidinediones (TZD) include:

  • pioglitazone (Actos)
  • rosiglitazone (Avandia)

SGLT-2 inhibitors include:

  • canagliflozin (Invokana)
  • dapagliflozin (Forxiga)
  • empagliflozin (Jardiance)

Drugs For Mental And Emotional Healh

Selective serotonin receptor uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to treat the symptoms of depression. However, they have been found to increase fracture risk in older women.

SSRIs include the following drugs:

  • Prozac
  • Paxil
  • Zoloft

Lithium is a compound frequently used to treat bipolar disorder. However, it increases parathyroid gland activity, causing bone resorption to outpace bone formation.

Beware of these lithium mood stabilizers:

  • Eskalith
  • Eskalith-CR
  • Lithobid


Use of acid-reducing drugs such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors can reduce the body's capacity for absorbing calcium, leading to bone loss.

Antacids with aluminum impede calcium absorption, including:

  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Riopan

Proton pump inhibitors include:

  • dexlansoprazole (Dexilant, Kapidex)
  • esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
  • pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • rabeprazole (Aciphex)

Loop Diuretics

Loop diuretics prescribed to people with high blood pressure, congestive heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease flush calcium and other alkalizing and bone-building minerals from the body. This loss of bone-building minerals results in a loss of bone mass.

  • furosemide (Lasix)
  • ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
  • bumetanide (Bumex)
  • torsemide (Demadex)
  • spironolactone (ldactone)
  • triamterene (Dyazide)
  • acetazolamide (Diamox)

Anti-Coagulants And Blood Thinners

Certain blood thinners and anti-coagulants can prevent calcium absorption and inhibit Vitamin K metabolism.

  • Heparin
  • Lovenox (low molecular weight heparin)
  • Warfarin
  • coumadin (Jantoven)


Some drugs prescribed to treat seizures and epilepsy increase Vitamin D metabolism in the liver. The resultant reduction in Vitamin D levels prevents adequate calcium absorption, leading to bone loss.

  • phenytoin (Phenytek, Dilantin)
  • phenobarbital (Luminal)
  • sodium valproate (Depakote)

Thyroid Medications

The thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating bone health, and when drugs affecting the thyroid are taken in too large a dose, they cause bone demineralization.

  • levothyroxine (LT4) (Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid)
  • dessicated thyroid gland (Armour Thyroid)

Sex Hormone Drugs

Drugs that reduce levels of estrogen or androgens cause an increase in the activity of the osteoclasts, which are the cells responsible for bone reabsorption.

Common hormone blockers include aromatase inhibitors:

  • anastrozole (Arimidex)
  • exemestane (Aromasin)
  • letrazole (Femara)

Androgen/estrogen deprivation therapy uses gonadotrophin agonists/antagonists including:

  • leuprorelin (Lupron, Lupron Depot)
  • leuprolide (Eligard)
  • goserelin (Zoladex)
  • buserelin (Suprefact)
  • flutamide (Eulexin)
  • bicalutamide (Casodex)
  • triptorelin (Trelstar)
  • histrelin (Vantas)
  • degarelix (Firmagon)
  • cetrorelix (Cetrotide)
  • ganirelix (Antogon)

Depomedroxyprogesterone acetate injections include:

  • Depo-Provera
  • Depo-Ralovera

Antiretroviral Therapies

Certain HIV medicines can cause bone loss of up to 2-6% in the first two years after starting treatment. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and regimens containing TDF are well known to have this effect:

  • Cimduo
  • Complera
  • Delstrigo
  • Stribild
  • Truvada
  • Vemlidy
  • Viread

Tramadol Pain Relievers

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid associated with a higher risk of hip fracture than other types of pain relievers. Pain relievers containing tramadol include:

  • Conzip
  • Qdolo Rybix ODT
  • Ryzolt
  • Ultram
  • Ultram ER


Calcineurin Inhibitors are prescribed to suppress immune function after organ transplants or in people with autoimmune disorders. They disrupt the cells that regulate bone remodeling.

  • cyclosporine (CsA) (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf, Restasis MultiDose, Restasis)
  • tacrolimus (Protopic, Envarsus XR, Prograf, Astagraf XL)

How To Avoid Bone-Damaging Drugs

If a bone-damaging drug is recommended to you, either as a prescription from your doctor or as an over-the-counter drug, always seek natural alternatives.

The first question should be whether there is a non-pharmacological intervention you could try. No matter what drug you take, it will increase acidification and tax your liver and kidneys, which will spend resources to filter the drug from your body.

Consult with a functional or naturopathic medicine doctor whenever possible. Ask about treatments that don't involve drugs, and do your own research as well. Much like osteoporosis, many conditions can be corrected through changes to diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

In the event that you need a pharmacological intervention, ask your doctor about alternative drugs that are not on this list. Always ask your doctors about the potential impact on your bones of any drug or procedure they suggest.


Seek alternatives to bone-damaging drugs on this list and for any other drugs you are recommended. Consult a functional or naturopathic medicine doctor whenever possible. As with osteoporosis, there are often safer and more effective non-pharmaceutical interventions you can pursue.

What This Means To You

Sometimes it's necessary to take a drug– so it's essential to know which ones could cause outsized harm to your bones. Check this list before starting any new drug therapy, and always ask your doctor directly about the impact of treatment on your bones.

One way or another, we all come into contact with substances that harm our bones– in the air, water, and food. That's unfortunately a fact of modern life. The Save Institute developed a seven-day cleanse as a tool for you to periodically give your body a break from those day-to-day toxins.

The Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse gives your bones a chance to catch up– that's why we call it a fresh start. The Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse protocol is backed by research and broken into a simple six-step structure. It is quick and painless compared to most other cleanses and less restrictive on food and drink. And you’ll get over 40 delicious, cleansing recipes!

The ideal health interventions don't have side effects– only side benefits. That's why you're pursuing a natural path to building stronger longer-lasting bones.


1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206646/

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Carol Hoyer

    I had to get off Prolia after a tooth extraction left me osteonecrosis of jawbone. My mantra is never get into something you can’t get out of! The government should be ashamed of its sneaky beneficent persuasion techniques that replaces lifestyle and preventive measures. It weakens proactivity and partnership and trust. WHY? Is it money from Big Pharma? Cost cutting or wanting Control? It can’t be for the patients good like they brain wash us to believe. When will the patients needs come first?

  2. Emmanuel de Guzman

    Hi! Nice read, though anyone knows the joint pain management medicine known as Hondrexil capsules? I found it while doing research for my wrist joint pain here – https://www.hondrexilchile.cl/. Is it safe?

  3. Prisclla Regalado

    Hi Vivian,

    Thanks so much for the information. I was shocked to read that Desiccated Thyroid, Armour or NP, can cause osteoporosis. I have been taking 60 mg since 2007 when I had half on my thyroid removed. My Functional/GYNO recommended it over Levothyroxine. I thought it was safer and better. I also read that coming off of it after so many years can be horrible. I’m 75 and have multiple thyroid tests every year. I’m also getting a DEXA Scan this week. Any suggestions?

  4. Shayla

    Vivian, thank you and the institute for your passion and pursuit to bring truth and healing to those suffering from bone loss. I am so very grateful for this resource and community.

    I am 33 years old and have been diagnosed with Drug Induced Osteoporosis (I’ve been using prednisone for over 15 yrs for an auto-immune condition). I tried to avoid the osteoporosis meds for as long as possible but My doctor told me she would no longer prescribe prednisone if I did not get on a osteoporosis treatment. I’m in the process of weaning of the prednisone but not yet a point where I can be without them and ignorant of natural osteoporosis reversal, I finally conceded to take Prolia… I had my first dose last month and had an allergic reaction. After that reaction and now discovering your resources I do not wish to continue any kind of osteoporosis treatment.

    My question is, being that I’ve now started the Prolia am I stuck in the cycle (since they say if you stop you’re at greater risk for fractures)? Or can the program work for someone like me who has started Prolia, is on a low dose of Prednisone and takes a PPI?

    P.S. I live in South Florida- can you suggest any functional or naturopathic doctors?

    Thank you for all that you do.

    Feb 6, 2023

    • Ruth

      Im 74. I’ve witnessed many people suffering from auto immune conditions, especially RA, that have gone into remission by changing their diet. The enemy is LECTINS. Dr Steven Gundry can teach you a lot about this. Check out his interviews on You tube. He’s a world famous heart surgeon that learned from a patient: google Dr Steven Gundry Big Ed video. How often do you find a doctor learning from his patient…I greatly admire him.
      Today I’ve discovered from Vivian that zoloft has a negative effect on bone health, so now I am halving the dose and I will come off it. Only went on it during a hard time with a cancer victim in the house. But not worth it. Some years ago I had cortisone injections for allergy but had serious implications affecting bone health. Thanks to the Save Institute we can keep learning.

      • Shayla

        Hi Ruth,

        Thank you for the reference. I’ve heard about lectins before so I will check out the interview to learn more. I’m glad to hear you’ll be coming off of the Zoloft.

  5. bea

    Thanks for sending this out!
    I have been lookn to remineralize my bones and taking nordic kelp tablets. Thought I’d try trace min. drops until I realized how polluted Salt Lk is.

    Any sug’s for other way to mineralize?
    Thanks again:B

  6. Noirin

    I have take prolia for 8 years and now stopped ny my consultant. She encouraged me to take zoledronic acid infusion (drip) which I did this week. I fell i to the ‘Prolia trap’ unfortunately. She told me coming off prolia and not taking anything after I would run the risk of Vertebrae fractures (non-trauma) which scared me.
    After taking zoledronic acid infusion, Am now suffering its side effects like terrible flu (chills, muscular pain and headache) which am td will pass in a few days. She recommended to take 2 zoldronic acid with 6-month apart which covers me for 5 years. I will not do this after reading your book ‘saveourbones Program’. Wish i read it 8 years ago.

    What diet and best vitamin is good to follow to increase bone density so i never have to take such meds again. Thank you. n

  7. archna

    Many thanks dear Vivian for all your efforts to enlighten us on different health issues. There are so many hidden aspects, we are not even aware of, which cause bone deterioration. We would love to see you at least once in our life time. Why don’t you along with your efficient team organize an online webinar for an hour or two and send the web link for us to join. We can listen to you and interact. I would humbly request you to spare some time for this ..just a humble suggestion.
    Thanks and warm regards

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome! And thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  8. MD (Medy)

    Hi Vivian,

    I have been following you for many years already and have purchased some of your books.

    I had osteoporosis since the 1990s and had taken Fossamax (1x /wk) for 8 years then changed to Prolia injectable (every 6 months) for 4 years. The bone density test result was good, from osteoporosis I moved to osteopenia. Then I asked the doctor to stop Prolia so he did an experiment asking me to just take the usual Calcimagon d3 everyday (that I have also been taking on days I’m not taking Fossamax or Prolia injection (every 6 months) . There was good result after blood test.. There was no bone loss. However on the next 3months continuing not to have Prolia, the blood test result revealed I was fast having a lot of bone loss so he asked me to go back again to Fossamax 1x/week with Calcimagon d3 the rest of the week now ongoing and after 6 months I will have another blood test to check the markers.

    I really want to get off Prolia and Fossamax and follow your Osteocleanse but I am somewhat afraid and so I want to know if someone can guide me and follow me all throughout when I do the Osteocleanse.

    I would appreciate very much your most wanted advice and thank you so much for all your work on this subject.


    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Dear Medy,

      Thanks for being a part of the Saver community! Vivian and her team are delighted to help you with your concerns, so please check your email inbox within the next 24-48 hours.

      In excellent health,
      Customer Support

  9. Joyce Sommers

    Vivian. You are great! I wish I could visit you in person some day. You are an amazing woman! I’ve been reading your articles & books for years & really appreciate your knowledge.
    Joyce Sommers
    I have high blood pressure, but have never taken aspirin, bc it doesn’t seem natural.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re so sweet, Joyce! I appreciate your kind words and would love to meet you (and all Savers!). Let me know if you ever travel to South Florida. And stick to a natural path to health 🙂

  10. Charlotte Grant

    Hi Vivian,
    The list of harmful drugs is very good information, thanks.
    On December 18, 2022 I sent in a payment for the Osteo cleanse of $21. 60
    I don’t seem to have gotten any info regarding this. Please send…. Thank you, Charlotte

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Dear Charlotte,

      Vivian and our team appreciate your thankfulness and want to help you with your order. Please check your email inbox within the next 24-48 hours.

      Yours in excellent health,
      Customer Support

  11. Sue

    I have been wondering why my bones don’t improve when I think I eat a fairly good diet, take supplements and do fairly regular exercise. I had for the past 14 years taken 325 mg of aspirin every day for a whole in the heart. And only just the other day I was wondering if this had been some thing which had contributed to the osteoporosis. what are your thoughts?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sue, studies don’t show conclusive data on aspirin and osteoporosis as of yet. However, any medication can acidify your pH, so keep following a pH-balanced diet.

  12. Annette jacobson

    Thank you for this valuable special information that can show a possible different way to treat osteopenia.
    Thank you again.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Annette!

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