Osteoporosis drugs cast a shadow

Bisphosphonates have doubtful benefits and clear serious side effects. However, because they are heavily advertised and promoted by the manufacturers in medical continuing education courses, this article ends with the typical caveat of “don’t stop these meds”.

from LA Times Booster Shots by Shari Ronan

Medications called bisphosphonates are standard tools for the treatment of osteoporosis. They include Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel and Reclast. But new data released Wednesday raise some concern about whether the drugs are safe for long-term use. Although the medications help increase bone quantity in the short term, two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggest that they may impair bone quality if used for four years or more. The drugs may suppress the body’s natural process of remodeling (removal and replacement of bone tissue) resulting in brittle bones that are prone to fracture. In one study, 111 postmenopausal women who had been taking bisphosphonates for at least four years had an increased risk for an unusual type of femur fracture compared with 50 similar women who were taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for bone health. link for the entire article:



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