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Generic name: denosumab (Prolia)den-OH-sue-mab ]
Drug class: Miscellaneous bone resorption inhibitors

Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD. Last updated on Feb 8, 2023.

What is Prolia?

Prolia is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are made to target and destroy only certain cells in the body. This may help to protect healthy cells from damage.

This medication guide provides information about the Prolia brand of denosumab. Xgeva is another brand of denosumab used to prevent bone fractures and other skeletal conditions in people with tumors that have spread to the bone.

Prolia is used in adults to treat osteoporosis or bone loss in people who:

  • are at high risk for broken bones; and

  • who cannot use another osteoporosis medicine or these medicines did not work well.

Prolia is sometimes used in people whose bone fracture is caused by certain medicines or cancer treatments.

Prolia is also used to treat glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in men and women at high risk of bone fracture.


Prolia can cause many serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have a fever, chills, pain or burning when you urinate, severe stomach pain, cough, shortness of breath, skin problems, numbness or tingling, severe or unusual pain, or skin problems.

Do not use denosumab if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control while using this medicine and for at least 5 months after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

Before you receive Prolia, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis), a weak immune system, a history of hypoparathyroidism or thyroid surgery, a history of intestinal surgery, a condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food, or if you are allergic to latex.

Some people using Prolia have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums. You may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre-existing dental problem.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are using Prolia. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive Prolia if you are allergic to denosumab, or if you have:

  • low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia); or

  • if you are pregnant.

While you are using Prolia, you should not receive Xgeva, another brand of denosumab.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);

  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines);

  • hypoparathyroidism (decreased functioning of the parathyroid glands);

  • thyroid or parathyroid surgery;

  • any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption);

  • if you are scheduled for a dental procedure;

  • if you cannot take daily calcium and vitamin D; or

  • if you are taking medicine that lower your blood calcium levels.

This medicine may cause jaw bone problems (osteonecrosis). The risk is highest in people with cancer, blood cell disorders, pre-existing dental problems, or people treated with steroids, chemotherapy, or radiation. Symptoms may include jaw pain or numbness, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after dental work. Ask your doctor about your own risk.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Do not use denosumab if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control while using denosumab and for at least 5 months after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.

How is Prolia given?

Prolia is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Prolia is usually given once every 6 months.

Your doctor may have you take extra calcium and vitamin D while you are being treated with Prolia. Take only the amount of calcium and vitamin D that your doctor has prescribed.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are receiving this medicine.

Pay special attention to your dental hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth regularly while receiving this medication. You may need to have a dental exam before you begin treatment with Prolia. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your risk of bone fractures can increase when you stop, skip or delay using Prolia. Do not stop using this medicine without first talking to your doctor.

If you keep this medicine at home, store it in the original carton in a refrigerator. Protect from light and do not freeze. Do not shake the prefilled syringe.

You may take the carton out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature before the injection is given.

After you have taken Prolia out of the refrigerator, you may keep it at room temperature for up to 14 days. Store in the original container away from heat and light.

Throw away a prefilled syringe after one use, even if there is still medicine left inside.

Do not reuse a needle or syringe. Place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container and dispose of it following state or local laws. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose or miss an appointment for your Prolia injection. You should receive your missed injection as soon as possible.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while receiving Prolia?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Prolia side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Prolia: hives, itching, rash; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Prolia may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or unusual pain in your thigh, hip, or groin;

  • severe pain in your joints, muscles, or bones;

  • skin problems such as dryness, peeling, redness, itching, blisters, bumps, oozing, or crusting; or

  • low calcium level--muscle spasms or contractions, numbness or tingly feeling (around your mouth, or in your fingers and toes).

Serious infections may occur during treatment with Prolia. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • fever, chills;

  • swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth, or redness anywhere on your body;

  • pain and burning when you urinate, painful urination;

  • increased or urgent need to urinate;

  • severe stomach pain; or

  • cough, wheezing, shortness of breath.

Common Prolia side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Prolia?

Other drugs may interact with denosumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Popular FAQ

Prolia (denosumab) and Reclast (zoledronic acid) are injections that can be used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. But they each work differently because Prolia is a monoclonal antibody (it may also be called a miscellaneous bone resorption agent) and Reclast is a bisphosphonate which means they have different side effects, other uses, tolerability, and effectiveness profiles. Both are prescription medicines. Continue reading

Yes, Prolia does appear to weaken your immune system. Research has shown people who take Prolia are at an increased risk of serious infections leading to hospitalizations, including endocarditis and serious infections of the skin, abdominal, urinary tract, and ear. People administered concomitant immunosuppressant agents (such as prednisone or cyclosporine) or with impaired immune systems may be at an even higher risk. Continue reading

Prolia (denosumab) has not been associated with weight gain in clinical studies. Prolia can cause peripheral edema (fluid retention) or swelling, and this may lead to weight gain in some people. Continue reading

Prolia is a prescription medicine injected under the skin (called a subcutaneous injection) and is given once every 6 months. You do not give Prolia to yourself. You will receive your Prolia injection from your healthcare provider at a their office or clinic. Continue reading

Prolia (denosumab) does increase bone density. Prolia works by targeting a molecule called RANKL that osteoclasts need to work. By stopping RANKL from binding to its receptor Prolia reduces bone breakdown, bone loss, bone pain, and other bone complications. BMD was increased 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. Continue reading

While there are no known drug interactions between Prolia (generic name: denosumab) and alcohol, but you should check with your doctor first before you drink. Some research has shown that alcohol consumption may increase your risk of osteoporosis, a bone fracture or impaired healing after a fracture. Continue reading

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medicine only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.