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Side Effects


Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Treatment of Osteoporosis in Men and Postmenopausal Women

The safety of FORTEO in the treatment of osteoporosis in men and postmenopausal women was assessed in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of 1382 patients (21% men, 79% women) aged 28 to 86 years (mean 67 years). The median durations of the trials were 11 months for men and 19 months for women, with 691 patients exposed to FORTEO and 691 patients to placebo. All patients received 1000 mg of calcium plus at least 400 IU of vitamin D supplementation per day.

The incidence of all cause mortality was 1% in the FORTEO group and 1% in the placebo group. The incidence of serious adverse events was 16% in FORTEO patients and 19% in placebo patients. Early discontinuation due to adverse events occurred in 7% of FORTEO patients and 6% of placebo patients.

Table 1 lists adverse events from the two principal osteoporosis trials in men and postmenopausal women that occurred in ≥2% of FORTEO-treated and more frequently than placebo-treated patients.

Table 1: Percentage of Patients with Adverse Events Reported by at Least 2% of FORTEO-Treated Patients and in More FORTEO-Treated Patients than Placebo-Treated Patients from the Two Principal Osteoporosis Trials in Women and Men Adverse Events are Shown Without Attribution of Causality

Event Classification FORTEO
Body as a Whole
Pain 21.3 20.5
Headache 7.5 7.4
Asthenia 8.7 6.8
Neck pain 3.0 2.7
Hypertension 7.1 6.8
Angina pectoris 2.5 1.6
Syncope 2.6 1.4
Digestive System
Nausea 8.5 6.7
Constipation 5.4 4.5
Diarrhea 5.1 4.6
Dyspepsia 5.2 4.1
Vomiting 3.0 2.3
Gastrointestinal disorder 2.3 2.0
Tooth disorder 2.0 1.3
Arthralgia 10.1 8.4
Leg cramps 2.6 1.3
Nervous System
Dizziness 8.0 5.4
Depression 4.1 2.7
Insomnia 4.3 3.6
Vertigo 3.8 2.7
Respiratory System
Rhinitis 9.6 8.8
Cough increased 6.4 5.5
Pharyngitis 5.5 4.8
Dyspnea 3.6 2.6
Pneumonia 3.9 3.3
Skin and Appendages
Rash 4.9 4.5
Sweating 2.2 1.7

Immunogenicity — In the clinical trial, antibodies that cross-reacted with teriparatide were detected in 3% of women (15/541) receiving FORTEO. Generally, antibodies were first detected following 12 months of treatment and diminished after withdrawal of therapy. There was no evidence of hypersensitivity reactions or allergic reactions among these patients. Antibody formation did not appear to have effects on serum calcium, or on bone mineral density (BMD) response.

Laboratory Findings

Serum Calcium FORTEO transiently increased serum calcium, with the maximal effect observed at approximately 4 to 6 hours post-dose. Serum calcium measured at least 16 hours post-dose was not different from pretreatment levels. In clinical trials, the frequency of at least 1 episode of transient hypercalcemia in the 4 to 6 hours after FORTEO administration was increased from 2% of women and none of the men treated with placebo to 11% of women and 6% of men treated with FORTEO. The number of patients treated with FORTEO whose transient hypercalcemia was verified on consecutive measurements was 3% of women and 1% of men.

Urinary Calcium FORTEO increased urinary calcium excretion, but the frequency of hypercalciuria in clinical trials was similar for patients treated with FORTEO and placebo [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Serum Uric Acid FORTEO increased serum uric acid concentrations. In clinical trials, 3% of FORTEO patients had serum uric acid concentrations above the upper limit of normal compared with 1% of placebo patients. However, the hyperuricemia did not result in an increase in gout, arthralgia, or urolithiasis.

Renal Function No clinically important adverse renal effects were observed in clinical studies. Assessments included creatinine clearance; measurements of blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and electrolytes in serum; urine specific gravity and pH; and examination of urine sediment.

Studies in Men and Women with Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis

The safety of FORTEO in the treatment of men and women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis was assessed in a randomized, double-blind, active-controlled trial of 428 patients (19% men, 81% women) aged 22 to 89 years (mean 57 years) treated with ≥ 5mg per day prednisone or equivalent for a minimum of 3 months. The duration of the trial was 18 months with 214 patients exposed to FORTEO and 214 patients exposed to oral daily bisphosphonate (active control). All patients received 1000 mg of calcium plus 800 IU of vitamin D supplementation per day.

The incidence of all cause mortality was 4% in the FORTEO group and 6% in the active control group. The incidence of serious adverse events was 21% in FORTEO patients and 18% in active control patients, and included pneumonia (3% FORTEO, 1% active control). Early discontinuation because of adverse events occurred in 15% of FORTEO patients and 12% of active control patients, and included dizziness (2% FORTEO, 0% active control).

Adverse events reported at a higher incidence in the FORTEO group and with at least a 2% difference in FORTEO-treated patients compared with active control-treated patients were: nausea (14%, 7%), gastritis (7%, 3%), pneumonia (6%, 3%), dyspnea (6%, 3%), insomnia (5%, 1%), anxiety (4%, 1%), and herpes zoster (3%, 1%), respectively.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of FORTEO. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

  • Osteosarcoma: Cases of bone tumor and osteosarcoma have been reported rarely in the postmarketing period. The causality to FORTEO use is unclear. Long term osteosarcoma surveillance studies are ongoing [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hypercalcemia: Hypercalcemia greater than 13.0 mg/dL has been reported with FORTEO use.

Adverse events reported since market introduction that were temporally (but not necessarily causally) related to FORTEO therapy include the following:

  • Allergic Reactions: Anaphylactic reactions, drug hypersensitivity, angioedema, urticaria
  • Investigations: Hyperuricemia
  • Respiratory System: Acute dyspnea, chest pain
  • Musculoskeletal: Muscle spasms of the leg or back
  • Other: Injection site reactions including injection site pain, swelling and bruising; oro-facial edema

Read the Forteo (teriparatide (rdna origin) injection) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects



A single FORTEO dose did not alter the effect of digoxin on the systolic time interval (from electrocardiographic Q-wave onset to aortic valve closure, a measure of digoxin's calcium-mediated cardiac effect). However, because FORTEO may transiently increase serum calcium, FORTEO should be used with caution in patients taking digoxin [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].


The coadministration of hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg with teriparatide did not affect the serum calcium response to teriparatide 40 mcg. The effect of coadministration of a higher dose of hydrochlorothiazide with teriparatide on serum calcium levels has not been studied [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].


Coadministration of intravenous furosemide (20 to 100 mg) with teriparatide 40 mcg in healthy people and patients with mild, moderate, or severe renal impairment (CrCl 13 to 72 mL/min) resulted in small increases in the serum calcium (2%) and 24-hour urine calcium (37%) responses to teriparatide that did not appear to be clinically important [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Read the Forteo Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/13/2012

Side Effects

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