I recently met a prostate cancer survivor whose doctor prescribed a new “miracle drug” to treat his loss of bone density caused by hormone therapy. He was given a prescription for FORTEO® and told that this drug has proven itself a better alternative to bisphosphonates, the normal treatment for bone density loss.

Forteo® is a parathyroid hormone (PTH) which when given intermittently enhances the body’s own bone-building action through a specific “co-receptor” on the surface of bone cells. The drug effects signaling that selectively stimulates bone formation. It works by regulating both osteoblasts by forming new bone, and osteoclasts by resorbing old and brittle bone. It seems to be more effective then the bisphosphonates and like them is FDA approved for this purpose.

However, there is a major concern that Forteo® may actually increase the chance of developing bone cancer. The most likely site for prostate cancer metastasis are bones and with the likelihood that Forteo® encourages bone cancer, men with prostate cancer must avoid the drug like a plague.

I do not think that prescribing Forteo® to prostate cancaer survivors is a common problem, most doctors do know better. Most of them are aware of this issue, but if you find that your doctor is nor aware or becomes a little careless and makes this error, stop him immediately and refuse the prescription.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW