Forteo is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA approved to treat osteoporosis in certain adults. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. With this condition, your bones lose density and may fracture (break) more easily.

Specifically, Forteo is approved to:

  • treat osteoporosis in females* who’ve gone through menopause and have a high risk for bone fracture
  • increase bone mass in males* with certain forms of osteoporosis and who have a high risk for bone fracture
  • treat osteoporosis in adults who have a high risk for bone fracture due to long-term use of glucocorticoids (a type of steroid medication), such as prednisone

For these purposes, Forteo is used in adults who can’t take other treatment options or who’ve tried other treatment options that didn’t work.

To learn more about these risk factors and forms of osteoporosis, see the “Forteo uses” section below.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Drug details

Forteo contains the active drug teriparatide. Forteo’s drug classification is a parathyroid hormone (PTH) analog. (An analog is something that’s designed to be similar but not identical to another drug or substance.) Teriparatide is designed to be similar to your body’s natural PTH.

PTH is naturally made by the parathyroid glands located in your neck. This hormone helps to regulate the calcium level in your blood and bones. By copying the effects of PTH, teriparatide helps your body rebuild and strengthen bone.

Forteo comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. It’s usually taken once daily as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin).

The strength of each injected Forteo dose is 20 micrograms (mcg) of teriparatide. The Forteo pen contains 28 doses for a total of 600 mcg per 2.4 milliliter (mcg/mL) of liquid solution. Each milliliter of liquid solution contains 250 mcg of teriparatide.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Forteo, see the “Forteo uses” section below.

Forteo is a brand-name medication that contains the active drug teriparatide. In Europe and other countries, teriparatide is classified as a biologic, but, it is not considered to be a biologic in the United States (U.S). According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., a biologic is defined as a drug made from living cells.

In the U.S., Forteo is available in a generic form called teriparatide injection. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. They tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. Bonsity is an FDA-approved alternative to Forteo. However, even though Bonsity was approved in late 2019, the drug is not yet available on the market.

In Europe, a biosimilar to Forteo is available as Terrosa. A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug. Biosimilars are just as safe and effective as the drug they are based on. And like generics, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.

If you’re interested in using alternatives of Forteo, talk with your doctor.

Forteo can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Forteo. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Forteo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Forteo, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Forteo can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Forteo. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Forteo’s prescribing information.
† For more information on this side effect, see “Orthostatic hypotension” in the “Side effect details” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Forteo aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Osteosarcoma

It’s possible that Forteo could cause osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer).

In animal studies, some rats treated with Forteo developed osteosarcoma. An increased risk of osteosarcoma hasn’t been found in human studies of Forteo. However, in these studies, the drug was only used for up to 2 years. So it isn’t known if Forteo could increase the risk of osteosarcoma after 2 years of treatment.

To be safe, it’s usually not recommended that you use Forteo for more than 2 years. Your doctor can let you know if the benefits of continued Forteo treatment outweigh the risks for developing osteosarcoma. For more information about risk factors for developing osteosarcoma, see the “Forteo Precautions” section below.

Symptoms of osteosarcoma can include:

  • bone pain or body aches that don’t go away
  • lumps or swollen, painful areas under your skin

If you develop these symptoms, tell your doctor right away. You may be at higher risk for developing osteosarcoma if you have certain conditions such as certain genetic disorders, bone metastases, or Paget’s disease. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions before starting Forteo. They may recommend a treatment other than Forteo to decrease your risk of developing osteosarcoma.

Skin problems

Serious skin problems have been reported with Forteo use. These skin problems didn’t occur during clinical studies of Forteo. Instead, they were reported after the drug became widely available following FDA approval. So it is not known exactly how often skin problems happen, but they seem to be rare.

Skin problems that can occur with Forteo include the buildup of calcium in the small blood vessels of the skin’s layers. This may lead to calciphylaxis, also known as “grey scale.”

Calciphylaxis is a rare condition in which calcium deposits form in the small blood vessels of fat and skin tissues. These calcium deposits prevent proper blood flow through these areas. This can lead to blood clots and skin layer damage. When this occurs, skin lesions (wounds) typically appear on the legs, abdomen (belly), buttocks, or breasts.

Symptoms of calciphylaxis can include:

  • painful skin lesions that may be discolored
  • fatigue (low energy)
  • weakness
  • body aches

Calciphylaxis can also cause your skin to break down, increasing the risk of life threatening infections, such as sepsis. Normally, healthy skin acts as a protective barrier against germs that can cause these types of infections.

Serious skin problems may be more likely to occur in people with certain risk factors, such as:

Other skin-related side effects of Forteo include increased sweating and skin rash. Some people have also reported pain, bruising, or swelling at the injection site (the spot where you inject your dose).

If you notice any skin changes during your Forteo treatment, talk with your doctor. They may check to see if you’re developing calcium deposits in your skin. If so, they will likely have you stop taking the drug and switch to a different treatment.

Orthostatic hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is a common but usually mild side effect of Forteo. Orthostatic hypotension is a temporary drop in blood pressure that’s caused by changing positions, such as standing up quickly. Symptoms include dizziness, fast heartbeat, or feeling lightheaded when standing up after you’ve been sitting or lying down.

During clinical studies, episodes of orthostatic hypotension typically occurred within 4 hours of injecting a dose of Forteo. These episodes were temporary, and symptoms went away on their own within a few minutes to a few hours.

Orthostatic hypotension most often occurs with the first several doses of Forteo. If you feel dizzy or notice your heart is beating fast after injecting a dose of Forteo, your doctor may recommend sitting or lying down until these symptoms go away.

As a precaution, you may want to plan the timing of your daily Forteo dose for when you’ll be able to sit or lie down afterward, if needed. For example, consider injecting Forteo at home, after you’re done working or driving for the day.

If this side effect bothers you or becomes severe, talk with your doctor. They may recommend other ways to help ease this side effect. Or they may suggest changes to your treatment plan.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Forteo. It isn’t clear how often allergic reactions occurred among people who took the drug in clinical studies.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing
  • hives

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Forteo, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Other drugs are available that can treat osteoporosis. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Forteo, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is used for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat osteoporosis include:

As with all medications, the cost of Forteo can vary. To find out how much Forteo costs per month in your area, check out GoodRx.com. To estimate your Forteo injection price, keep in mind that you’ll also need to purchase pen needles, which are not included with Forteo. Pen needles can be purchased over-the-counter from a pharmacy or prescribed by your doctor. You’ll need to use a new pen needle for each Forteo injection.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Forteo. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost per month. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or your insurance company.

It’s important to note that you may have to get Forteo at a specialty pharmacy. This type of pharmacy is authorized to carry specialty medications. These are drugs that may be expensive or may require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively.

Before approving coverage for Forteo, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Forteo, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Forteo, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Forteo, offers a copay card to help lower the cost of their drug. Similar to a coupon, their Forteo copay card may provide savings.

Additionally, the manufacturer offers an assistance program if you can’t afford to purchase Forteo.

For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. You can also learn more about saving money on prescriptions in this article.

Mail-order pharmacies

Forteo may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Forteo, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or your insurance company.

Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications. To find out your cost with Medicare, you can contact your plan’s customer service for more information.

Generic version

Forteo is a brand-name medication that contains the active drug teriparatide. In Europe and other countries teriparatide is classified as a biologic but, it is not considered to be a biologic in the United States (U.S). According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S., a biologic is defined as a drug made from living cells.

In the U.S., Forteo is available in a generic form called teriparatide injection. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. They tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. Bonsity is an FDA-approved alternative to Forteo. However, even though Bonsity was approved in late 2019, the drug is not yet available on the market.

In Europe, a biosimilar to Forteo is available as Terrosa. A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug. Biosimilars are just as safe and effective as the drug they are based on. And like generics, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.

If your doctor has prescribed Forteo and you’re interested in using alternatives instead, talk with your doctor. They may recommend one version or the other for your condition. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other. To find out how the cost of alternatives compares with the cost of Forteo, visit GoodRx.com.

The following information describes the usual or recommended injection dosage of Forteo. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Forteo comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. It’s given once daily as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin). To give yourself a dose, you’ll attach a new pen needle* to the Forteo pen and use it to inject your dose.

The strength of each injected Forteo dose is 20 micrograms (mcg) of teriparatide. The Forteo pen contains 28 doses for a total of 600 mcg per 2.4 milliliter (mcg/mL) of liquid solution. Each milliliter of liquid solution contains 250 mcg of teriparatide.

It’s important to note that Forteo comes as a prefilled pen that contains 28 doses of the drug. Some people have accidentally received an overdose by mistakenly injecting the entire contents of the pen at once. Be sure to only inject one dose per day. To make sure you only take one dose per day, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to inject your dose or see Forteo’s user manual.

* Pen needles aren’t included with Forteo. To use a Forteo pen, you’ll need to purchase over-the-counter pen needles from a pharmacy or get a separate prescription for pen needles from your doctor. You’ll need to use a new pen needle each day to inject a dose.

Dosage for osteoporosis

Forteo is usually given once daily as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin).

You’ll likely inject one dose of 20 mcg once per day.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Forteo, you should skip the missed dose. You should not use more than one dose of Forteo within the same day. Doing so may increase your risk of side effects.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Forteo is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. However, it’s usually not recommended to use Forteo for more than 2 years because of the potential risk of developing osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer). For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” above.

It’s best to talk with your doctor about how long you’ll continue your Forteo treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Forteo is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely use it long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Forteo to treat certain conditions. Forteo may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Forteo is FDA approved to treat certain forms osteoporosis in adults.

Specifically, Forteo is approved to:

  • treat osteoporosis in females* who’ve gone through menopause and have a high risk† of bone fracture
  • increase bone mass in males* with certain forms‡ of osteoporosis who have a high risk† of bone fracture
  • treat osteoporosis in adults who have a high risk† for a bone fracture due to long-term use of glucocorticoid therapy (a type of steroid medication), such as prednisone. (This condition is also called glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.)

For these purposes, Forteo is approved to treat osteoporosis in adults who can’t take other treatment options or who’ve tried other treatment options that didn’t work.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
† People who have a high risk of fracture include those who’ve fractured a bone in the past or have multiple risk factors. For more information about risk factors, see “About osteoporosis” right below.
‡ Forteo is approved for use in males with primary osteoporosis or hypogonadal osteoporosis. Primary osteoporosis is typically related to older age. Hypogonadal osteoporosis is usually caused by low testosterone levels.

About osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. With this condition, your bones lose density and are more likely to fracture (break).

The main treatment goal for osteoporosis is to prevent fractures. Fractures of the spine and hip can cause long-term disability and pain. It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about other ways to reduce your risk of falls, injuries, and bone fractures. These may include things that you can do on your own or with the help of a healthcare professional.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures include:

* Your doctor may recommend taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. These supplements are usually recommended for people with osteoporosis and are safe to take with Forteo. If you have questions about what dosage of calcium and vitamin D to take, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can be caused by the side effects of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids (a type of steroid medication). Some examples of steroid drugs are prednisone, prednisolone (Orapred ODT), and dexamethasone. This type of osteoporosis is called glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.

Forteo is approved to treat glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in adults. But not everyone who takes a prescribed steroid develops osteoporosis. It’s more likely to occur in people who take at least 5 milligrams of prednisone or an equivalent dose of a similar steroid for 3 months or longer.

Effectiveness for osteoporosis

Forteo can be an effective treatment for osteoporosis. According to clinical studies, the drug can reduce the risk of fractures in the spine and other bones in females who’ve gone through menopause and have osteoporosis. Forteo can also reduce the risk of fractures and increase bone mass in males with osteoporosis. Clinical studies have also shown that Forteo is effective in treating osteoporosis in adults who have used glucocorticoid therapy (a type of steroid medication) long term. For more information on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see Forteo’s prescribing information.

Forteo is also a recommended treatment option for osteoporosis by the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Your doctor can discuss whether this drug may be helpful for you.

To monitor how well Forteo is working for you, your doctor will use a bone mineral density (BMD) test. One type of BMD test is called a DEXA scan, and it’s used to measure your BMD as a sign of your bone strength.

Forteo and children

Forteo isn’t approved for use in children because their bones are still growing.

Daily calcium and vitamin D supplements are usually recommended for people with osteoporosis. If your doctor suggests these supplements for you, you can continue taking them during your Forteo treatment, according to your doctor’s instructions.

If you have questions about what dosage of calcium and vitamin D to take, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

You may wonder how Forteo compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. To find out how Forteo compares with Tymlos, see this article.

Forteo is a used to treat osteoporosis in adults who have a high risk* of bone fracture (breaking). Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become brittle, weak, and more likely to fracture. It occurs when your body breaks down bone tissue faster than it can be rebuilt. This is often caused by hormonal changes such as a decrease in estrogen in females† who’ve gone through menopause. In males,† bone loss may happen due to older age or a low level of testosterone.

Forteo helps your body build bone to replace the bone tissue that’s been lost due to osteoporosis.

Forteo contains the active drug teriparatide. It belongs to a group of drugs called parathyroid hormone (PTH) analogs. (An analog is something that’s designed to be similar but not identical to another drug or substance.) Teriparatide is designed to be similar to your body’s natural PTH.

PTH is made by the parathyroid glands located in your neck. This hormone helps regulate the calcium levels in your blood and bones. Forteo’s mechanism of action (how it works in the body) is to mimic the effects of PTH, which helps your body rebuild and strengthen bone.

Specifically, Forteo stimulates the activity of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for building bone tissue. By activating osteoblasts, Forteo helps your body rebuild the bone tissue that’s been lost due to osteoporosis.

* People who have a high risk of fracture include those who’ve broken a bone in the past or have multiple risk factors. For more information about risk factors, see the “Forteo uses” section above.
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

How long does it take to work?

Forteo starts working soon after you inject your first dose. In clinical studies, the drug significantly reduced the risk of fractures in females who’ve gone through menopause. Similarly in males, clinical studies showed Forteo reduced the risk of fracture.

Most likely, you will not notice Forteo working in your body. To monitor how well Forteo is working for you, your doctor will use a bone mineral density (BMD) test. One type of BMD test is called a DEXA scan, and it’s used to measure your BMD as a sign of your bone strength. In clinical studies, Forteo significantly increased BMD after 3 months of treatment.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Forteo.

Does Forteo cause hair loss?

Forteo does not cause hair loss. Hair loss wasn’t reported in people taking this drug in clinical studies.

Osteoporosis is often caused by hormonal changes. One example includes the decrease in estrogen that occurs in females* who’ve gone through menopause. These hormonal changes may contribute to hair loss. Similarly, males* who have osteoporosis due to hypogonadism may have hair loss due to low levels of testosterone.

If you’re concerned about hair loss, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help identify the cause of your hair loss and suggest ways to treat it.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Will I have weight gain or weight loss with Forteo?

You shouldn’t lose or gain weight as a side effect of taking Forteo. Weight changes weren’t reported in people taking the drug in clinical studies.

But it’s possible that weight loss can occur due to a higher calcium level in your blood, a less common side effect of Forteo. Symptoms of having an increased calcium level can include nausea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue (low energy), and muscle weakness. It’s possible that these symptoms can lead to some weight loss.

If you notice these symptoms or weight changes while using Forteo, talk with your doctor. They may check your calcium level with a blood test.

Is Forteo used for hypoparathyroidism?

Forteo is only FDA approved to treat certain forms of osteoporosis. It is not approved to treat hypoparathyroidism. With this condition, your body doesn’t produce enough parathyroid hormone (PTH).

Forteo may be prescribed off-label for this condition. (Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.) Forteo is a PTH analog, which means that it’s similar to the body’s natural PTH. It works by copying the effects of PTH in the body.

A small study showed that teriparatide (the active drug in Forteo) was safe and effective for hypoparathyroidism. But the drug isn’t FDA approved for this use.

If you have questions about treatments for hypoparathyroidism, talk with your doctor.

What’s the recommended duration of therapy with Forteo?

Forteo use for more than 2 years total is not recommended.

In animal studies, some rats who were treated with Forteo developed osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer). An increased risk of osteosarcoma hasn’t been found in human studies. However, in these studies, the drug was only used for up to 2 years. So it isn’t known if Forteo could increase the risk of osteosarcoma after 2 years of treatment.

It’s best to talk with your doctor about other options to treat your osteoporosis after 2 years of treatment with Forteo. Your doctor can give you more information on whether the benefits of continued Forteo treatment outweigh your risks for developing osteosarcoma.

Can I abruptly stop taking Forteo?

If you and your doctor decide that you’ll stop taking Forteo, you can stop it abruptly. Forteo doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms, and your body doesn’t become dependent on the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can happen when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on. Drug dependence occurs when your body needs a drug in order to feel normal.

However, your osteoporosis may get worse if you stop using Forteo and don’t start a different osteoporosis treatment. If your doctor suggests stopping Forteo, they’ll likely discuss a new treatment plan with you.

You should use Forteo according to the instructions your doctor gives you.

Before you start treatment, a healthcare professional will show you or your caregiver how to use the Forteo pen to inject the drug at home.

You’ll use a prefilled Forteo pen and a pen needle* to inject one dose of the drug once daily. Forteo injections are given just under the skin of your thigh or abdomen (belly). You should rotate the injection site each time you take Forteo. This means that you should not use the same exact spot each day to inject your dose. Doing so could damage or irritate your skin and the tissue underneath.

Forteo should be stored in the refrigerator. It’s best to inject your dose of Forteo right after you take the pen out of the refrigerator. After each use, you’ll remove and discard the pen needle. Then you’ll recap the pen and put it back in the refrigerator right away.

If you have questions about how to use Forteo pen, there are several support options. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for help. Also, Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Forteo, provides a demo video and step-by-step instructions for use on their website. They also offer Forteo Connect, a program that provides one-on-one injection training and support.

* Pen needles aren’t included with Forteo. To use a Forteo pen, you’ll need to purchase over-the-counter pen needles from a pharmacy or get a separate prescription for pen needles from your doctor. You’ll need to use a new pen needle each day to inject a dose.

When it’s administered

You should take your dose of Forteo once per day, at about the same time each day. This will help keep a consistent amount of the drug in your body.

After you inject a dose of Forteo, it’s possible that you could develop dizziness or a fast heartbeat. This is more common within the first few doses after you start treatment. So it’s a good idea to plan your dose for when you’ll be able to sit or lie down if this occurs. (For more information, see “Orthostatic hypotension” in the “Side effect details” section above.)

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a reminder app on your phone.

There aren’t any known interactions between Forteo and alcohol. But it’s a good idea to limit alcohol use with Forteo. This is because some people develop orthostatic hypotension during their Forteo treatment.

Orthostatic hypotension can occur up to 4 hours after taking your dose, and symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, or fast heartbeat. (For more information, see “Orthostatic hypotension” in the “Side effect details” section above.) Drinking alcohol can also cause or worsen dizziness, which may lead to falling and getting injured.

Excessive alcohol use can raise your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, and Forteo is used to treat osteoporosis in people who have a high risk* for bone fracture. So it’s important to consider that drinking large amounts of alcohol could increase your risk of a bone fracture.

If you have questions about drinking alcohol while using Forteo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* People who have a high risk of fracture include those who’ve broken a bone in the past or have multiple risk factors. For more information about risk factors, see the “Forteo uses” section above.

When you get Forteo from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

The Forteo pen should always be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 36° to 46°F (2° to 8°C). The only exception is when it’s time to inject your dose. You should also recap the pen after each use to protect it from light.

Disposal

Right after you’ve used a pen needle, dispose of it in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from using the drug by accident or harming themselves with the needle. You can buy a sharps container online, or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where to get one.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Forteo doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms or drug dependence.

Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can happen when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on. Drug dependence occurs when your body needs a drug to feel normal.

If you have questions about stopping Forteo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Forteo can interact with other medications.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Forteo and other medications

Before taking Forteo, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

Digoxin

A drug interaction has been reported in people who took Forteo with digoxin. Digoxin is a medication that’s used to treat heart problems such as heart failure. Taking Forteo can temporarily increase your blood calcium level, which can increase the risk of side effects from digoxin.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Forteo and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Forteo. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Forteo.

Forteo and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Forteo. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Forteo, talk with your doctor.

It’s not known if Forteo is safe to take during pregnancy. There haven’t been any studies to know what effects Forteo may have on a developing fetus.

Forteo is commonly used by females* who’ve gone through menopause. Females can’t become pregnant after menopause.

If you’re pregnant or have plans to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They’ll recommend a different medication to treat your osteoporosis.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

It’s unknown whether Forteo is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Forteo.

For more information about taking Forteo during pregnancy, see the “Forteo and pregnancy” section above.

It’s not known if Forteo is safe to take while breastfeeding. Because its effects on a breastfed child haven’t been studied, using Forteo while breastfeeding is not recommended.

If you’re breastfeeding or have plans to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about what medications are safe for you during this time.

Before taking Forteo, talk with your doctor about your health history. Forteo may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Factors that increase the risk of developing osteosarcoma. In animal studies, some rats treated with Forteo developed osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer). This risk was not found in human studies. However, it’s possible that Forteo treatment may increase this risk, especially if you have other risk factors. These include:
    • family history of medical conditions that increase the risk of developing bone cancer
    • children with open epiphyses (growth areas located at the ends of bones that are still growing)

If you have any of these factors, or if you’re unsure if you do, talk with your doctor. They’ll discuss the best treatment options with you.

  • Calcium deposits in your skin. If you’ve had skin problems caused by calcium buildup or deposits in your skin, talk with your doctor before starting Forteo treatment. Forteo may worsen this condition.
  • Kidney or bladder stones. It’s possible that Forteo may increase the level of calcium in your urine. This can raise your risk of getting kidney or bladder stones. If you already get kidney or bladder stones, Forteo may worsen your condition. If you’ve had kidney or bladder stones in the past, talk with your doctor. They may have you take Forteo but with close monitoring of your urine calcium level, or they may suggest a different treatment option.
  • High calcium levels in your blood, such as hyperparathyroidism. Forteo can possibly cause increased calcium blood levels. If you already have a high calcium level due to a medical condition such as hyperparathyroidism, using Forteo can worsen your condition. Because of this, your doctor may suggest other treatment options that are safer for you.
  • Severe kidney or liver problems. Forteo use hasn’t been studied in people with severe kidney or liver problems. If you have severe kidney or liver problems, talk with your doctor. If you take Forteo, they’ll monitor your kidney and liver using blood tests. Or they may suggest a different treatment option.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Forteo or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Forteo. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. Forteo use may not be safe for use during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Forteo and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. Using Forteo while breastfeeding is not recommended. For more information, see the “Forteo and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Forteo, see the “Forteo side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Forteo can lead to serious side effects. Do not use more Forteo than your doctor recommends.

It’s important to note that Forteo comes as a prefilled pen that contains 28 doses of the drug. Some people have accidentally received an overdose by mistakenly injecting the entire contents of the pen at once. Be sure to only inject one dose per day. To make sure you only take one dose per day, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to inject your dose, or see Forteo’s user manual.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.