I’ve just been diagnosed with osteopenia. The doctor is prescribing Fosteum, a plant-based estrogen. From reading, I found not much testing has been done on this drug. What is the alternative drug and how effective is it and side effects?
Fosteum, classed as a “medical food” by the FDA, is often used to treat osteopenia and osteoporosis. This prescription product contains genistein (a natural plant estrogen from soybeans), Vitamin D, and Zinc. All ingredients in the drug are GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe), however, as of 2016, their safety in women had not been clearly established.
Furthermore, while researchers have not yet studied how Fosteum in particular relates to breast cancer, in vitro data has shown that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein could stimulate the proliferation of estrogen-receptor alpha positive (ERα+) breast cancer cells at low concentrations.
While prescription products like Fosteum may be used for treatment of osteopenia, many doctors remain wary about overmedicating patients. Since osteopenia is an indicator of low bone density, but is not osteoporosis in and of itself, not many drugs exist specifically for it.
Changes to diet and exercise are most often suggested as methods of treatment. Introducing weight-bearing strength exercises into your fitness routine and incorporating Vitamin B into your diet are both effective steps to take to increase bone density and decrease chances of developing osteoporosis.
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