Strontium ranelate (Protos) is a prescription medicine used to treat severe osteoporosis. It works by increasing bone formation and decreasing bone loss.
Strontium will be deleted from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 August 2016.1
What does this mean?
If you are taking strontium to treat osteoporosis, then you need to know that from 1 August 2016 this medicine will no longer be available through the PBS (currently at a cost of $38.80 for general patients, and $6.30 for patients with a concession card).2
After 1 August 2016, strontium will be available in Australia as a private prescription only. This means that doctors are still able to prescribe the medicine, but it will cost more as the government is no longer paying (subsidising) some of the cost.
I take strontium for my osteoporosis, what do I do now?
Currently, there are no other generics or alternative formulations of strontium available on the PBS. However, in recent years, the number of different osteoporosis medicines available in Australia has increased and many of these are now listed on the PBS to treat different groups of people with severe osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis medicines play an important role in treating osteoporosis and preventing osteoporosis-related fractures. It is important to work with your doctor to understand the different types of medicines available and choose the one that is best for you. The types of medicines available on the PBS to treat osteoporosis include:
- bisphosphonates (alendronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid)
If you and your doctor decide to continue with strontium, the cost is expected to be approximately $60 per month, depending on the individual pharmacy.
Other ways to help manage osteoporosis
Medicines are an important part of treating osteoporosis. Other actions include:
- enjoying a healthy diet
- being physically active on a regular basis, including if possible weight-bearing activities (eg, brisk walking) and resistance exercises (eg, using ankle or hand weights). Make sure you speak with your health professional before starting any exercise.
- making sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D – from your diet if possible or from supplements if advised by your health professional
- limiting your alcohol intake
- finding ways to prevent falls
- stopping smoking.
If you are unsure about how to treat your osteoporosis, talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist to find reliable information about your health condition.
- Therapeutic Goods Administration Safety Advisory 3 April 2014: Strontium ranelate (Protos) and risk of adverse events
- Osteoporosis Australia factsheets on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
- Department of Health. Summary of Changes. 1 May 2016. [PBS online] (accessed 22 July 2016).
- Department of Health. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. 4. Patient charges. 2016. [PBS online] (accessed 10 March 2017).
- Australian Medicines Handbook. Osteoporosis. Adelaide: AMH Pty Ltd, 2016. [Online] (accessed 15 July 2016).