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Does Prolia increase bone density?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 18, 2020.

Official Answer


Yes, Prolia (denosumab) does increase bone density. Research has shown that Prolia significantly increased bone mineral density (BMD) by 8.8% at the lumbar spine, 6.4% at the total hip, and 5.2% at the femoral neck in trials that measured BMD after three years of treatment with Prolia. Consistent effects were seen in all ages and races and regardless of weight/body mass index (BMI), baseline BMD, or level of bone turnover. Once Prolia has been stopped, BMD returned to approximately baseline levels within 12 months.

Prolia is a targeted treatment that is given by injection under the skin (subcutaneously) once every six months. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may also need to be taken while a person is receiving Prolia. Prolia should not be stopped or delayed without your doctor’s advice as the risk of fracture may increase.

Prolia belongs to the class of medicines called monoclonal antibodies and is classified as a bone-modifying agent.

How does Prolia work?

Bones are alive and constantly changing. Everybody has cells that remove bone in their body (called osteoclasts and cells that rebuild bone called osteoblasts. This helps keep bones strong. An excess of bone-removing cells in your body makes you lose bone faster than your body can rebuild it, putting you at risk for fracture and causing the condition called osteoporosis.

Prolia works by targeting a molecule called RANKL that osteoclasts need to work. Prolia stops RANKL from binding to its receptor so reduces the development of new osteoclasts and reduces bone breakdown, bone loss, bone pain, and other bone complications.

What is Prolia used for?

Prolia may be used to:

  • Treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at high risk of fracture
  • Increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis
  • Increase bone mass in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy at high risk for fracture
  • Increase bone mass in women receiving adjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy for breast cancer who are at high risk for fracture.


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