Compare Prolia vs. Forteo

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.



Prevents bone loss. Prolia (Denosumab) is an effective and convenient treatment for osteoporosis if other options haven’t worked or aren’t appropriate for you. There’re risks of some rare side effects, so make sure you're following up with your doctor regularly.Prevents bone loss. Forteo (Teriparatide) is a good second-choice medication to treat bone loss, but it's only available as an injectable.
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Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Prolia (Denosumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Forteo (Teriparatide)?
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Side effects
  • Hypercholesterolemia 1%
  • Ankle and leg swelling 1%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 1%
  • Sciatica 1%
  • Bone pain 1%
  • Passing gas 1%
  • Muscle pain 1%
  • Heart-related chest pain 1%
  • Rash 1%
  • Pain in extremity 1%
More Prolia side effects »
  • Dizziness 3%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Fainting 2%
  • Leg cramps 2%
  • Muscle weakness 2%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 1%
  • Indigestion 1%
  • Vertigo 1%
  • Low mood disorder 1%
  • Tooth disorder 1%
More Forteo side effects »
How it works
Prolia (Denosumab) is a monoclonal antibody. It blocks a protein that sends signals to break down your bones, and therefore prevents bone loss.Forteo (Teriparatide) works by stimulating cells that build up and strengthen your bones.
Type of medication
Monoclonal antibodyPrescription only
Parathyroid hormone
Prescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Taking steroids
    • Kidney problems
    • Not taking calcium supplements
    • Taking other medicines that can lower calcium blood levels
    • History of hypoparathyroidism (low levels of parathyroid hormone)
    • Weak immune system
    • Taking medicines that block your immune system (such as transplant medications or steroids)
    • Oral or dental surgery
    • Cancer diagnosis
    • Taking steroids or chemotherapy
    • Poor oral hygiene
      Detailed Prolia (Denosumab) risks & warnings »
      • Paget's bone disease
      • Young people with open epiphyses
      • Hypercalcemia
      • Hyperparathyroidism
      • History of kidney stones
        • Digoxin use
        Detailed Forteo (Teriparatide) risks & warnings »

        Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        Kidneys and liver
        No kidneys and liver related info.
        • Forteo (Teriparatide) can cause kidney stones, especially if you have high calcium levels in your urine. If kidney stones are suspected, your doctor can measure the amount of calcium in your urine to see if you are at risk. Be careful using this medication if you have a history of kidney stones.
        • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
        No pain related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        • Prolia (Denosumab) is effective at preventing bone loss, making your bones stronger and lowering your chance of getting a fracture.
        • Only need to get an injection every 6 months, so you don’t have to remember to take something every day.
        • If you're unable to use bisphosphonates or are still having fractures despite being on other medications, Forteo (Teriparatide) can be a good alternative.
        • You can start using Forteo (Teriparatide) as soon as you stop using bisphosphonates.
        Downsides and risks
        • Approved for women only after they’ve reached menopause. Don’t use this if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
        • Can lower blood calcium levels. You might need to take calcium supplements to prevent this.
        • Not available as a generic.
        • Only available as a brand medication, so it can be expensive.
        • You have to inject this every day, so it may not be a good option if you don't like needles.
        • Shouldn't take this longer than 18 to 24 months since it can increase the risk of bone cancers.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        • Remember to get your shot every 6 months. Write it down on your calendar.
        • If your doctor also told you to take calcium and vitamin D, remember to take them as well. They'll work with Prolia (Denosumab) to help protect your bones.
        • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
        • Let your doctor know if you start getting more infections.
        • Let your dentist know that you’re taking Prolia (Denosumab) since it can cause problems in the jaw bone after dental procedures.
        • You should be sitting or lying down when you inject Forteo (Teriparatide) since it can make you dizzy.
        • You should inject Forteo (Teriparatide) under the skin in either your thigh or stomach.
        • Make sure the liquid in the vial of Forteo (Teriparatide) is clear and colorless before you inject it. Don't use it if it looks cloudy, colored, or if you see particles inside.
        Learn more
        More about ProliaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Prolia (Denosumab)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it
        More about ForteoSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Forteo (Teriparatide)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it