Sounds like 'TER-i-PAR-a-tide'

Easy-to-read medicine information about teriparatide – what it is, how to take teriparatide safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Belongs to a class of medicines called parathyroid hormone peptides 
  • Forteo®

What is teriparatide?

  • Teriparatide is used to treat severe osteoporosis (bone loss), in people who have a high chance of getting fractures. 
  • It lessens the risk of a broken bone or fracture. 
  • Teriparatide is a man-made form of a natural hormone in the body called parathyroid hormone, which is important for maintaining healthy bones. Teriparatide increases bone formation, thereby increasing bone strength and reducing the chance of fracture.
  • Teriparatide is available as an injection.


  • The dose of teriparatide is 20 micrograms injected once daily usually for up to 18 months.
  • Always take your teriparatide exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much teriparatide to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take teriparatide

  • Inject teriparatide under the skin (subcutaneously), in the thigh or in the tummy area (abdomen). 
  • Teriparatide comes in a pen-shaped device to make the daily injection easier. The pen injector contains enough medicine for 28 doses.
  • Use a new needle for each injection.
  • Throw away the pen after 28 days of use, even if it is not empty.
  • Try to administer your injection around the same time every day to help you remember. The best time to take it is at night before going to bed.
  • If you forget your dose, inject it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just inject the next dose at the right time. Do not inject more than one dose per day.
  • Your doctor will usually recommend that you take calcium and vitamin D as additional treatment for osteoporosis.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, teriparatide can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects

What should I do?

  • Reaction at the injection site such as pain, itching, swelling, bruising

  • Change injection sites every day
  • This is quite common when you first start injecting teriparatide
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (throwing up)
  • Constipation
  • Pain in joints or bones
  • Headache
  • These are quite common when you first start injecting teriparatide
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizziness
  • This can happen if you get up too quickly from a lying position. It is more common at the start of treatment
  • To reduce the chance of falls, get out of bed slowly and rest your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up. Also, have a chair close by when you give yourself the injection so that you can sit down if you feel dizzy


Teriparatide can interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

Forteo® Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist.