Sounds like 'TER-i-PAR-a-tide'

Key points about teriparatide

  • Teriparatide is used to treat osteoporosis (bone loss).
  • Teriparatide is also called Forteo®.
  • Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.
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Teriparatide is used to treat osteoporosis (bone loss), when other commonly used medicines such as bisphosphonates don't work well enough or are not suitable. Teriparatide lessens the risk of a broken bone or fracture.

In New Zealand teriparatide is available as an injection that is given under your skin. Teriparatide is kept in the fridge.

  • The dose of teriparatide is 20 micrograms injected once daily, usually for up to 18 months.
  • Always use your teriparatide exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much teriparatide to use, how often to take it and any special instructions.

  • Injection site: Inject teriparatide under your skin (subcutaneously), in your thigh or in your abdomen (tummy area). 
  • Time of day: Try to give your injection around the same time every day to help you remember. The best time is at night before going to bed.
  • Prefilled pen: Teriparatide comes in a pen-shaped device to make the daily injection easier. The pen injector contains enough medicine for 28 doses. Throw away the pen after 28 days of use, even if it isn't empty.
  • Needles: Use a new needle for each injection. Don't store your pen with the needle attached. If you do this, solution may leak from the pen and air bubbles form in the cartridge.
  • Missed dose: If you forget your dose, inject it as soon as you remember that day. But if it is nearly time for your next dose, just inject the next dose at the right time. Do not inject more than one dose per day.
  • Supplements: Your doctor will usually recommend that you also take calcium and vitamin D as treatment for osteoporosis.

  • Do you have problems with your kidneys?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Have you had radiation therapy?

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start teriparatide. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Like all medicines, teriparatide can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects

What should I do?

  • Reaction at the injection site such as pain, itching, swelling, bruising

  • This is quite common when you first start injecting teriparatide.
  • Change injection sites every day.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (throwing up)
  • Constipation
  • Pain in joints or bones
  • Headache
  • These are quite common when you first start injecting teriparatide.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizziness
  • This can happen if you get up too quickly from a lying position.
  • It is more common at the start of treatment.
  • To reduce the chance of falls, get out of bed slowly and rest your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
  • Also have a chair close by when you give yourself the injection so that you can sit down if you feel dizzy.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product(external link)

Teriparatide may interact with a few medicines and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting teriparatide and before starting any new medicines.

Forteo®(external link) Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ
Teriparatide(external link) Arthritis Australia


5 questions to ask about your medications(external link) Health Quality and Safety Commission, NZ, 2019 English(external link), te reo Māori(external link)

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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