As Big Pharma continues to come up with ever-more creative ways of getting osteoporosis drugs into your body, you may have heard of the latest injectable form of osteoporosis medication: Forteo (teriparatide). Just what is the Forteo injection? It’s not the same as an infusion, which is administered directly into the bloodstream and is taken only twice a year, and it’s not the same as oral osteoporosis drugs taken once a month or once a day. The Forteo injection is actually a shot you give yourself every day for approximately two years.
Keep an eye out, because researchers in Denmark are currently experimenting on a Forteo microchip that can be implanted under the skin. Like an artificial gland, the chip delivers the daily dose of medication without any effort on the part of the patient. (I can’t help but think “yikes” on this one!)
Forcing DNA Together – the Manufacture of Forteo
Back to the question of what the Forteo injection is. It is a synthetic, recombinant form of parathyroid hormone. It is produced using e.coli bacteria (another “yikes”), thus mimicking the amino acid chains present in human parathyroid hormone. Forteo is manufactured by recombinant DNA technology, which involves the bringing together of DNA chains that would never naturally come together to form a whole new (synthetic) substance.
The Parathyroid Paradox
It’s very strange that when bone is exposed to significant amounts of parathyroid hormone (PTH), such as occurs with hyperparathyroidism, it actually causes the bone to break down. In fact, osteoporosis can result from hyperparathyroidism. So if bone breaks down in the presence of PTH, why is it that introducing extra PTH in the form of Forteo is said to have the opposite effect? It apparently stimulates osteoblast activity by some mysterious means that is the opposite of what PTH normally does. Frankly, it’s a disturbing paradox that underscores and adds consternation to the underlying question: what is the Forteo injection?
No one seems to know the complete answer to this question.
Bone Growth and Overgrowth – the Cancer Connection
We do know, then, that the Forteo injection is a synthetic form of PTH, and that PTH is involved in bone formation and breakdown. Further, we know that Forteo somehow stimulates osteoblast activity and rapid growth of bone. These two things – increased osteoblast activity and rapid growth of bone – are associated with osteosarcoma, a particular form of bone cancer.
At this point, osteosarcoma has only shown itself in patients taking Forteo if those same patients are undergoing (or have undergone) some form of radiation therapy involving the bones. But there may be other contraindications, too – once again, no one really knows as yet. A 2010 University of Texas study concludes, “Although teriparatide reduces osteoporosis-related fractures in select patient populations, important contraindications, such as prior radiation exposure, should be considered before use.”1
You can’t expect to “trick” your body with synthetic substances that mimic natural ones and not suffer some consequences.
So it seems that the question, “What is the Forteo (Teriparatide) injection?” cannot be answered completely. The answers we do have are dubious at best, frightening at worst. I urge you not to become part of a drug experiment. Instead, look to natural means to get your osteoporosis under control. It can be done. You don’t need to risk cancer or other damaging side effects to treat a condition that is not a disease. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program is scientifically-proven, physician-approved, and 100% safe, something that most certainly can’t be said about Forteo!
1 Subbiah, V., et al. “Of mice and men: divergent risks of teriparatide-induced osteosarcoma.” Osteoporosis International. 2010 Jun 21(6):1041-5. Epub 2009 Jul 14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19597911
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As a Pharm.D. with over 40 years experience in dealing with patients and explaining medications to them I am often asked questions because patients see blogs like this and are offered mis-information about their therapies. First of all, with a MA in biochemistry you should know that e.coli are used in the processes for making insulin and a host of other drugs and are not an issue or part of the end product. That is why they are called sterile products. Your comments otherwise are inappropriate and only server to scare people and buy your products. Secondly if you’d investigate more about osteoporosis, you’d find there are many contributing factors and simple bone density is not the whole issue. When patients lose bone architecture, connectivity, and dimensionality of the bone, density is also lost. Putting back only density in the form of increased mineralization of the remaining pieces confirs some increase in strength, but not to the point of reconstructed architecture, which is what Forteo does. Many younger women never achieve peak bone mass due to improper diet/exercise. But implying they can reverse their osteoporosis by such is misleading and wrong. Bone remodeling is a constant part of bone maintenance and when that gets out of balance due to hormone loss, coorticosteroid use, and many other reasons, bone is lost leading to osteoporosis. No one drug works for all and not all symptoms patients have are due to a drug they took, which many patients fail to understand. As with all drugs, some side effects warrant discontinuation, but others are manageable and should not necessarily lead to discontinuation of the drug. But that decision should be made by the patient talking with their physician and LISTENING as well, not by someone reading something on the internet. I would counsel you to be more well-read on the subjects you discuss, not cherrypicking articles and factoids. You in fact make the job of every pharmacist and physician harder by giving out pieces of information and not whole stories.
I took all the prescription drugs including re last. I have not taken anything for 5 years and bone density has gotten slightly better. Exercise and good nutrition is better.
I have a prescription for Forteo but
have not taken it yet–Honestly I’m
afraid of it but feel I’m being pushed
into this medication
First of all you should never feel “pushed” to take a medication. It is your body and as such, it is you decision. But don’t confuse “pushed” with urgency by your health care provider. If you have fractured, or are at a high risk of fracture, then it may be in your best interest to seriously consider both the advantages of taking this medication as well as the risks, cost and potential death should you suffer a hip fracture or multiple vertebral fractures. No other drug will grow new bone. None. The others only harden existing bone. Ask your doctor to be frank with you on his or her belief about the micro architecture of your bones.
Thank you. After multiple fractures st age 75, I have a prescription for forteo. Ms. Goldschmidt hopes to sell her program. I looked here for comments from patients and physicians which I found. Thank you.
I took Forteo and it helped me increase my bone density. Just at the start I fractured my hip and i was lucky to be on Forteo because I think it helped me to heal the fracture. I only wish I could continue to take it, but Medicare restricts to two years because they don’t want to spend the money. Forteo is an active fragment of the natural hormone. That’s different from a drug. The paradox of intermittent hormone action as opposed to the effect of continuous exposure to the hormone is a familiar one, called hormesis. Small amounts of a stimulus can have beneficial effects whereas the larger dose is harmful. Ionizing radiation acts like that.