Your bone density can be measured by a machine that uses low levels of X-rays to determine the proportion of mineral in your bones. During this painless test, you lie on a padded table as a scanner passes over your body. In most cases, only certain bones are checked — usually in the hip and spine.
Treatment recommendations are often based on an estimate of your risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years using information such as the bone density test. If your risk isn't high, treatment might not include medication and might focus instead on modifying risk factors for bone loss and falls.
Bisphosphonates: For both men and women at increased risk of fracture, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are bisphosphonates. Examples include:
• Alendronate (Binosto, Fosamax)
• Ibandronate (Boniva)
• Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
• Zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)
Side effects include nausea, abdominal pain and heartburn-like symptoms. These are less likely to occur if the medicine is taken properly. Intravenous forms of bisphosphonates don't cause stomach upset but can cause fever, headache and muscle aches. A very rare complication of bisphosphonates is a break or crack in the middle of the thighbone. A second rare complication is delayed healing of the jawbone.
Courtesy: Mayo Clinic