Modified on 2010/09/13 09:12 by Chrissie Cole
Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs that slow or stop reabsorption of bone. They can reduce the risk of bone fracture, and in some cases can increase bone mass in those with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis occurs primarily in the elderly and causes a decrease in bone density. People with osteoporosis can suffer pain, lose inches of their height and are at a high risk of fractures in their hips and wrists.

Ten million Americans have osteoporosis. And the disease causes about 1.5 million fractures each year, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax, Reclast, Skelid and Zomeda are popular bisphosphonates.

Bisphosphonate Safety Concerns

September 2010

A new study released this month suggests long-term use of bisphosponate drugs may be associated with a doubling in esophageal cancer risk, although the risk remains small, according to WebMD.

March 2010

A new study found that staying on Fosamax, a popular bisphosphonate, as well as other osteoporosis drugs, for five or more years can increase the risk of hip fractures.

September 2008

Bisphosphonate drugs were linked to a condition in which jawbone tissue dies. A study found, 1 in 10 cancer patients who received treatment with IV bisphosphonate drugs developed the jaw problem. Also some cases have been seen in women taking low doses of osteoporosis drugs.

October 2008

Studies found bisphosphonates may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, or erratic heart rhythms.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly updates safety information regarding bisphosphonate drugs as it becomes available.

See Also

  1. Osteoporosis
  2. Alendronate-Overview
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