A humanized monoclonal antibody directed against the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa beta ligand (RANKL) with antiosteoclast activity. Denosumab specifically binds to RANKL and blocks the interaction of RANKL with RANK, a receptor located on osteoclast cell surfaces, resulting in inhibition of osteoclast activity, a decrease in bone resorption, and a potential increase in bone mineral density. RANKL, a protein expressed by osteoblastic cells, plays an important role in osteoclastic differentiation and activation.
Denosumab injection (Prolia) is used to treat osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) in women who have undergone menopause (‘change of life;’ end of menstrual periods) and have an increased risk for fractures (broken bones) or who cannot take or did not respond to other medications for osteoporosis. Denosumab injection (Xgeva) is used to reduce fractures from cancer that began in another part of the body but has spread to the bones. Denosumab injection (Xgeva) is not used to reduce fractures from multiple myeloma (cancer that begins in the plasma cells [a type of white blood cell that produces substances needed to fight infection]). Denosumab injection is in a class of medications called RANK ligand inhibitors. It works by decreasing bone breakdown and increasing bone strength and density (thickness).
Denosumab injection comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) in your upper arm, upper thigh, or stomach area. It is usually injected by a doctor or nurse in a medical office or clinic. When denosumab injection is used to treat osteoporosis, it is usually given once every 6 months. When denosumab injection is used to reduce fractures from cancer that has spread to the bones, it is usually given once every 4 weeks.
Your doctor will tell you to take supplements of calcium and vitamin D while you are being treated with denosumab injection. Take these supplements exactly as directed.
When denosumab injection is used to treat osteoporosis, your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with denosumab injection and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) or the manufacturer’s website to obtain the Medication Guide.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
If you miss an appointment to receive an injection of denosumab, you should call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The missed dose should be given as soon as it can be rescheduled. When denosumab injection is used for osteoporosis, after you receive the missed dose, your next injection should be scheduled 6 months from the date of your last injection.
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Denosumab injection may cause certain bones to break and broken bones to heal slowly. Denosumab injection may also impair bone growth and prevent teeth from coming in properly in children. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving this medication.
Denosumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.
*Source: National Cancer Institute
*Source: Medline Plus