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Paget Disease of the Bone

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Last updated November 3, 2021

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What is Paget disease?

In Paget disease, also known as Paget disease of the bone, there is a problem with the way your body rebuilds bone tissue (called remodeling). Paget disease usually affects people older than 55 and most often occurs in the bones of the skull, spine, hips, and legs. Its cause is unknown, but those with a family history of Paget disease are at higher risk of developing it.

Symptoms

While many people with Paget disease don’t have any symptoms, some may have bone pain, abnormal bone growth, and weaker bones that can break more easily. Pain can occur if the bone becomes abnormally shaped or fractured.

Treatment

Paget disease is diagnosed with X-rays and blood tests that can detect abnormal levels of a protein called alkaline phosphatase.

Paget disease is treated with prescription medications that reduce the breakdown of bone. These include:

  • Bisphosphonates such as zoledronic acid (which is given as an IV infusion) and alendronate or risedronate (taken orally).
  • Calcitonin may be used if you can’t tolerate or take bisphosphonates.

Surgery may also be needed if the bone is very deformed or broken.

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