Targeted Therapies for Osteoporosis and Bone Protection: Prolia and Xgeva

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The targeted therapy Prolia (chemical name: denosumab) is approved by the U.S. FDA to treat postmenopausal women diagnosed with osteoporosis who are at high risk of breaking a bone or who can't take or haven't gotten any benefits from other osteoporosis treatments. Prolia is given as an injection under the skin once every 6 months.

The targeted therapy Xgeva (chemical name: denosumab) is approved by the U.S. FDA to reduce the risk of bone complications and bone pain caused by advanced-stage breast cancer that has spread to the bone. Xgeva is given as an injection under the skin every 4 weeks.

While Prolia and Xgeva are made of the same chemical components, each is used for a different purpose.

Like the bisphosphonates, Xgeva and Prolia can sometimes cause a rare but serious side effect, osteonecrosis of the jaw, a condition in which the cells in the jawbone start to die. Researchers think that osteonecrosis of the jaw may develop because bisphosphonates stop the body from repairing microscopic damage to the jawbone that can happen during routine dental procedures or from everyday wear and tear. But it's still not clear why this happens in some people and not in others. If you're taking Xgeva or Prolia, tell your dentist right away. Together, you and your dentist can work out a dental treatment schedule that keeps your teeth healthy and minimizes your risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Learn more about Prolia and Xgeva.

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