Forteo (teriparatide) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat osteoporosis in adults. The drug comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. The drug is injected under the skin, usually once per day.

Forteo is used to treat osteoporosis in:

In addition, those who use Forteo must have a high risk of bone fractures or have tried other osteoporosis medications that didn’t work for them.

The active ingredient in Forteo is teriparatide. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

Forteo belongs to a group of drugs called parathyroid hormone analogs. It’s designed to be similar to your body’s parathyroid hormone.

This article describes the dosage of Forteo, its strength, and how to use it. To learn more about Forteo, see this in-depth article.

* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

The following information describes the typical dosage of Forteo.

Note: This chart highlights the basics of Forteo’s dosage. Be sure to read on for more detail.

FormStrengthUsual dosage
liquid solution in a prefilled pen250 micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL)*20 mcg once per day

* Each pen contains 600 mcg of Forteo in 2.4 mL of liquid solution.

What is Forteo’s form?

Forteo comes as a liquid solution in a prefilled pen. There are 28 doses in each pen. Forteo is injected under the skin.

What strength does Forteo come in?

Forteo’s strength is 250 mcg/ml. Each pen contains 600 mcg of Forteo in 2.4 mL of liquid solution.

What is the usual dosage of Forteo?

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for osteoporosis

To treat osteoporosis, you’ll inject 20 mcg of Forteo once per day under your skin, usually in your thigh or lower abdomen.

Is Forteo used long term?

Forteo may be used as a long-term treatment if you continue to have a high risk of bone fractures. But it’s generally recommended to limit treatment to 2 years.

Once you no longer have a high risk of bone fractures, your doctor will likely recommend that you stop using Forteo.

If you have questions about how long you’ll use Forteo, talk with your doctor.

This section provides information about how to use Forteo.

Where to inject Forteo

Forteo should be injected under the skin of your lower abdomen or thigh. Rotate the injection sites so that you’re not injecting the medication into the same area each day. Regularly changing the injection site can help prevent damage to your skin.

How to inject Forteo

Before injecting Forteo, you’ll wash your hands and prepare the injection site. Then you’ll follow the steps below:

  1. Pull off the white cap from the pen.
  2. Screw on an unused needle onto the cartridge.
  3. Set the dose of Forteo by pulling out the black injection button until it locks.
  4. Insert the needle by gently pinching a fold of skin on your thigh or belly.
  5. Push the black injection button until it stops, then hold needle in place for 5 seconds before pulling the needle out.

For more details on how to inject Forteo, see the drug manufacturer’s instructions.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Forteo, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you miss a dose of Forteo, skip it entirely, and take the next dose at your regularly scheduled time. Do not take more than one dose per day. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’ve missed a dose and aren’t sure when to take your next dose.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Forteo on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Do not use more Forteo than your doctor prescribes as this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you use too much Forteo?

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve used too much Forteo. Your doctor may check your calcium and phosphorus levels by ordering a blood test.

You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Forteo’s dosage.

How does the dosing schedule of Forteo compare with the dosing schedule of Prolia?

Forteo and Prolia both treat osteoporosis and come as liquid solutions that are injected under the skin. But they contain different active ingredients* and work in different ways.

If you’re prescribed Forteo, you’ll inject the medication under your skin once per day. But if you’re prescribed Prolia, a healthcare professional will inject the medication under your skin once every 6 months.

For more information about how Forteo and Prolia compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

What is the usual length of Forteo treatment?

Typically, doctors don’t prescribe Forteo for more than 2 years during a person’s lifetime. But your doctor may prescribe Forteo for more than 2 years if the risk of bone fractures remains high, or if this risk returns after you’ve stopped treatment.

To find out how long you’ll need to use Forteo, talk with your doctor.

The sections above describe the usual dosage provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Forteo for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Forteo without your doctor’s recommendation. Only use Forteo exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How do I know if I’m receiving the correct dose of Forteo from the pen?
  • Can I use Forteo once every 2 days if I have too many side effects?
  • Does my dosage depend on my sex assigned at birth?

To learn more about Forteo, see these articles:

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.