Forteo (teriparatide) is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed for osteoporosis in certain adults. Forteo comes as a subcutaneous injection that’s given once per day.

Forteo is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain types of osteoporosis in adults with a high risk of bone fractures, such as:

It may also be prescribed if other osteoporosis treatments aren’t possible.

Forteo belongs to a class of drugs called parathyroid hormone analogs. (A hormone analog is a synthetic form of a hormone that naturally occurs in the body. It’s designed to function in the same way as the natural hormone.)

This drug is available as the generic injection drug teriparatide.

Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Forteo, including its strength and how to use the medication. For a comprehensive look at Forteo, see this article.

Note: This article describes typical dosages for Forteo provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Forteo, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

Commonly recommended dosages for Forteo are shown below. However, your doctor will prescribe the Forteo dosage that’s right for you.

Forteo form

Forteo comes as an injection you give as a subcutaneous injection. The injection comes as a prefilled pen.

Forteo strength

Forteo is available in one strength: 250 micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL). The 2.4-mL prefilled pen contains 600 mcg of the drug, which should last for 28 daily doses.

Typical dosages

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

For all of its approved indications, Forteo is given as a subcutaneous injection using the prefilled pen. The prefilled pen contains 28 daily doses.

Dosage for osteoporosis

Doctors may prescribe Forteo to treat certain types of osteoporosis in adults with a high risk of bone fractures. Forteo may also be prescribed when other osteoporosis treatments aren’t possible.

The recommended dosage of Forteo is 20 mcg, given once per day.

During treatment with Forteo, your doctor may recommend taking certain supplements. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are often recommended to help manage osteoporosis.

For more information about what supplements may be helpful for osteoporosis, talk with your doctor. You can also refer to this article.

Long-term treatment

Forteo is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. However, your doctor may not recommend using it for more than 2 years. Using it for longer could potentially increase the risk of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. For more information about this and other side effects of Forteo, read this article.

Ask your doctor how long you can expect to use Forteo. If you and your doctor determine that Forteo is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Below are some questions related to Forteo’s dosage.

Would my doctor need to increase my dose of Forteo?

No, it’s not likely. The only approved dosage of Forteo is 20 mcg daily. It isn’t approved for use at higher dosages. For this reason, your doctor is unlikely to increase your dosage.

If you feel like your treatment isn’t working as well as it should, talk with your doctor. Together, you can explore your treatment options.

Is there a recommended dosage of Forteo in older adults?

No, there isn’t a specific Forteo dosage for older adults (ages 65 years and older). The recommended dosage of Forteo is 20 mcg once per day, regardless of age. This is the only approved dosage for this drug.

In clinical trials, Forteo was equally safe and effective in adults of all ages.

If you have concerns about taking Forteo at your age, talk with your doctor. They can advise whether Forteo is the right treatment option for you.

Forteo is given as a subcutaneous injection using a prefilled pen. A healthcare professional will show you or a caregiver how to give the injection. You can also learn about injecting Forteo on the drug manufacturer’s website.

You’ll inject Forteo once per day. It may be helpful to inject it around the same time of day. This helps maintain a steady level of the drug in your body so Forteo can work effectively.

You’ll store Forteo’s prefilled pen in the refrigerator. It’s best to inject your dose right after you take it out of the refrigerator.

Before injecting Forteo, look at the liquid in the prefilled pen to make sure it’s clear and colorless. Do not use it if it’s cloudy or discolored, or if there’s anything floating in it.

Then, choose a site to inject Forteo. You can inject it in your abdomen or thigh. Make sure the site isn’t bruised, hard, red or discolored, or sore. Avoid areas within 2 inches of your belly button. Pick a new site for each daily dose of Forteo.

Discard the used needle after each dose, but keep the pen. Recap the pen afterward and put it back in the refrigerator right away.

The Forteo pen contains 28 daily doses of 20 mcg. Discard the pen after 28 days, even if there’s still some liquid left in it.

Be sure not to share your Forteo pen with anyone else.


If you’re having trouble reading your prescription label, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If you miss a dose of Forteo and remember on the same day, take it as soon as you remember. Then, take your regularly scheduled dose at the usual time the next day.

If you don’t remember until the next day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two Forteo doses in the same day or try to make up the dose.

If you’re unsure whether or not to take a missed dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

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 timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

If you use more Forteo than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects.

It’s important that you don’t use more Forteo than your doctor advises. Doing so could lead to an overdose.

Symptoms of an overdose

Overdose symptoms of Forteo can include:

If you take more than the recommended amount of Forteo

Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Forteo. Another option is to call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Forteo for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

As with any drug, never change your dosage of Forteo without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Forteo that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Forteo. These additional articles might be helpful:

  • More about Forteo: For information about other aspects of Forteo, refer to this article.
  • Drug comparison: To find out how Forteo compares with Tymlos, read the “Tymlos vs. Forteo” section of this article.

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.