Forteo Side Effects Center

Last updated on RxList: 3/28/2022
Forteo Side Effects Center

What Is Forteo?

Forteo (teriparatide [rDNA origin]) Injection is a man-made form of parathyroid hormone that exists naturally in the body used to treat osteoporosis in men and women who have a high risk of bone fracture.

What Are Side Effects of Forteo?

Common side effects of Forteo include dizziness or fast heartbeat within 4 hours after using this medication. These symptoms may persist for a few minutes to a few hours. This side effect should go away after several doses as your body adjusts to Forteo. Other side effects of Forteo include:

Tell your doctor if you have unlikely but serious side effects of Forteo including:

Dosage for Forteo

The recommended dose of Forteo is 20 mcg subcutaneously once a day.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Forteo?

Forteo may interact with digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin). You may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use Forteo. There may be other drugs that can interact with Forteo. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Forteo During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

During pregnancy, Forteo should be used only when prescribed. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Forteo (teriparatide [rDNA origin]) Injection Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What is another medical term for osteoporosis? See Answer
Forteo Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • bone pain;
  • new or unusual swelling or lumps under your skin;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out (may occur within 4 hours after injection);
  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest after using an injection; or
  • high calcium levels--confusion, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, lack of energy, constipation, increased thirst or urination, weight loss.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea;
  • joint pain; or
  • pain anywhere in your body.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Forteo (Teriparatide (rDNA origin) Injection)


Osteoporosis Super-Foods for Strong Bones With Pictures See Slideshow
Forteo Professional Information


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(%)(%)
Body as a Whole
Neck pain3.02.7
Angina pectoris2.51.6
Digestive System
Gastrointestinal disorder2.32.0
Tooth disorder2.01.3
Leg cramps2.61.3
Nervous System
Respiratory System
Cough increased6.45.5
Skin and Appendages


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 entire FDA prescribing information for Forteo (Teriparatide (rDNA origin) Injection)

© Forteo Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Forteo Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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