Perspectives on osteoporosis therapies

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Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease which predisposes to fragility fractures with high morbidity and economic impact, and, therefore, the goal of any osteoporosis treatment is to reduce the fracture risk. In the various forms of osteoporosis an imbalance between bone resorption and apposition is present, that generally leads to a reduction of bone mineral density and bone quality, and finally to the increased fracture risk. Nowadays, several drugs are available with a demonstrated anti-fracturative effect obtained by inhibiting bone resorption or stimulating bone formation. However, their use is not free from limitations and side effects. Importantly, to date, the available antiresorptive drugs have also an inhibiting, though to a lesser extent, effect on bone apposition and, similarly, the anabolic drugs lead to an increase also of bone resorption. Advances in our knowledge about bone biology, with molecular insights into mechanisms underlying osteoblast, osteoclast, and osteocyte activity, have led to the recognition of new potential targets and consequently to the formulation of new therapeutic agents to treat osteoporosis. New potential developments among the antiresorptive drugs include cathepsin K inhibitors and among the osteoanabolic drugs those activating the Wnt signaling pathway, such as the monoclonal antibodies against sclerostin. The novelty of these compounds is that their mechanism of action gives the exciting possibility to uncouple bone resorption and bone formation, and data available so far appear to be promising. Finally, several new therapeutic targets are under investigation in preclinical studies which could open further approaches to treat osteoporosis in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 5 2015


  • Anabolics
  • Antiresorptives
  • Bone formation
  • Bone resorption
  • Osteoporosis treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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