Features October 2010 Issue

When It May Be Time for a ‘Time-Out’ from Osteoporosis Drugs

Bisphosphonates have been proven to stem bone loss, but they may lose their ability to stop bone from eroding over a long period of time.

Bisphosphonates—drugs used for the treatment of osteoporosis such as Fosamax, Reclast, Boniva, Novartis, and Actonel—have received both positive and negative publicity over the past decade. They have a proven record of reducing the risk of fractures among people with osteoporosis, but there are also studies that associate the drugs with fractures and reports that they may lose their effectiveness after a period of time. Credible studies, according to the March 2010 issue of British Journal of Medical Practitioners, found that bisphosphonates might cause "atypical" fractures of the femur (the bone that connects the hip to the knee).

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