Ibandronic acid, often called ibandronate sodium, is a medication used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. It is usually given as a pill once a month. Once administered, the medication remains bonded to bone tissue, until it is time for the next dose. This medication helps strengthen bones and can reverse some of the damage caused by osteoporosis.
In women, estrogen is one of the hormones responsible for maintaining bone density. The levels of estrogen in a woman’s body naturally rise and fall over the course of her monthly cycle and over the course of her life. While she is still releasing ova, bone density remains high, but once menopause occurs, most women lose bone density. Ibandronic acid is one medication that is commonly prescribed to post-menopausal women in order to stop loss of bone density.
Though a loss in bone density is a frequent symptom of menopause, it can pose a number of health risks. Bones that are thinner fracture more easily, and the risk of serious injury is increased. Ibandronic acid is most effective in women whose bones have thinned only slightly. As the bone density decreases it becomes harder to rebuild lost mineralization.
Ibandronic acid is most commonly prescribed to post-menopausal women, but it can be given to women who have osteoporosis from other causes as well. Anastrozole therapy, a breast cancer treatment, can lead to a loss of mineralization, and ibandronic acid can be given to women undergoing this treatment. This medicine is not prescribed to men.
Treatment with ibandronic acid is usually administered as a monthly pill. The pill must be taken with a full glass of water, and the person taking the pill must remain upright for at least an hour after taking it. It is also possible to receive treatment in the form of an injection that is given every three months.
Once the medicine is in the body, it quickly binds to the bones. In the bones, it prevents certain cells from decalcifying bones, which stops the bones from losing density. Over time, treatment with ibandronic acid can raise calcification of the bones to the point where some of the effects of osteoporosis are reversed. It is not often possible to see or feel the effects of the medicine, just as the effects of osteoporosis commonly go unnoticed by sufferers of the disease. Bone density tests must be used to determine the strength of the bones.