Osteoporosis and prednisone

Hi all,

I am a 64 year old female who has just started on prednisone for Polymyalgia rheumatica. I also have osteoporosis and have just started Actonel (Risedronate). I have to take the prednisone and it can weaken bones. After reading all the side effects of Actonel and seeing there are law suits launched in US for side effects from this drug I am really wondering if I should continue taking it. Has anyone had any success with non-medication therapy? I have been using a weight vest when I walk for the last couple of years and maybe this has helped my hip bones but it has done nothing for my vertebrae. I am also taking calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.

10 Replies

  • This page has a PDF download for PR.


    Sometimes we need to take drugs which have nasty side effects. I'm taking Pred for Rheumatoid Vasculitis, and Anastrazole for breast cancer, which both cause Osteoporosis. Which is why my doctors have put me on Adcal D3. The chances of acquiring Osteoporosis at our age (I'm 64 too) is quite high. I was at risk anyway due to having Rheumatoid Arthritis, and both my mum and gran had Osteoporosis. Last DEXA scan I had I was at the Osteopenia level - hence the Adcal D3. I think after 2 years on Anastrazole and over one year on steroids, I probably have Osteoprososis and will need more drugs for this.

    I haven't got PR, and haven't heard of any non medications therapy for it. I hope you can find some resolution to this problem when you talk to your consultant.

    There are lots of alternatives to Actonel as this PDF from the National Osteoporosis Society shows.


    If you haven't already visited the website, the address is: nos.org.uk/

    Best wishes xx

  • thanks a bunch, the website looks helpful

  • Hi Bramwater. I will never take OP drugs as I'd rather have bones like sponge than risk the side effects. It is possible to use natural means to improve bone density (I have two friends who have done so) and this is the method I have chosen. I, too, am on pred for PMR, but take no other medications. I have been diagnosed with osteopenia, although until yesterday I had been led to believe it was osteoarthritis, so am facing many of the same issues as you are. I've done lots of reading and feel confident that I'm making the right decisions.

  • Hi HeronNS,

    By OP drugs you mean any prescription drugs for osteoporosis? From what I've read so far I too do not want to take the bisphosphonates, etc. I will continue to try and educate myself and hopefully something I try will work. I just read the book Your Bones by Lara Pizzorno which was helpful. Also I have read the following website and get the email newsletter osteopenia3.com/

    Do you have any recommended reading?

    Thanks again.

  • I wrote a sort of little essay a few days ago, which I saved because it summed up what I have been learning recently. It's a work in progress, because every day I seem to learn something new, and sometimes what I think is great one day turns out to be not so great after all. I'll message it to you.

  • Hello HeronNS,

    I'm new to the community, and have read your posts with interest. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis a couple of weeks ago, and after an initial 'panic', like you, and your friends, I aim to improve my bones naturally, through exercise, diet and supplementation. I'm doing a lot of research, but I wonder if you would be kind enough to share your essay with me? Also, have you come across the Save our Bones website, and if so, what are your thoughts... It's so frustrating when you think you've found some sound advise only to find it turned on its' head during a renewed research trip!

    Many thanks!

  • I agree with you about Save Our Bones. I think she has some really good advice and I like her exercises and some other things about what she posts on her website. But bone research is an evolving thing, and best advice seems to be a moving target. I'm not sure that this particular website is the best one. I did include her in my very short list of references, but with a couple of caveats.

    On the subject of caveats I must emphasize that anything I share is only my own research. I am not medically trained and I don't want to give people bad advice. The information I shared a month or two ago has since been tweaked and updated as I continue to learn more, and I know this is an ongoing thing. I really want to learn what other people have found out, too. I will private message you the most recent version of "My Osteoporosis Journey".

  • Thanks so much for your message and your "Osteoporosis Journey". It's great to have someone share their experience, and once I begin to get a clearer picture I will share without hesitation. Tai Chi and the weighted vest are two things on my 'to-do' list, along with pilates and some physio for arthritis. It's disappointing to learn that the vest hasn't helped your vertebrae, I'm sorry. Have you had a look at Dr Myhill's site? She has a lot of useful information, although she does suggest taking strontium carbonate or chloride. I too am taking calcium, vitamin D, magnesium along with Dr Myhill's Joint Mix. Will continue to update, and share as much as possible.

  • Did I say the weighted vest hasn't helped me? I didn't mean to. I don't know if anything has helped and won't know until next scan. I do know that I feel better because of my diet and regular walking I guess.

  • Well I shall keep my fingers crossed that your next scan shows the vest, along with the exercise and diet have helped improve your bone health as well as your general feeling of good health!

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