Researchers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have reviewed the long-term benefit of bisphosphonates, a class of medications broadly prescribed to treat osteoporosis.
A little information about osteoporosis
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, is a disease characterized by reduced bone mass and increased bone weakness and fragility. In some serious cases individuals can end up with bone fractures, even with simple sneezing or bumping into a hard surface. This disease is a major public health problem. According to some estimates almost 52 million Americans have osteoporosis.
What are the bisphosphonates?
These medications prevent further bone damage by so-called osteoclasts. Since bone damage is mostly because of the activity of osteoblast, bisphosphonates limit the bone damage and enhance the bone regeneration.
Do you have osteoporosis? Are you on any treatment? Go below to the comments and let me know about your experience!
Let’s return to our FDA review
This review shows that some patients may be able to stop using bisphosphonates after three to five years and still continue to benefit from their use. This class of drugs has been successfully used since 1995 to slow or inhibit the loss of bone mass.
Most commonly prescribed bone loss medications
The most commonly prescribed bisphosphonates are brand-name drugs such as Actonel, Atelvia, Boniva, and Fosamax for osteoporosis. More than 150 million prescriptions were dispensed to patients between 2005 and 2009.
It has been suggested that all patients on bisphosphonate therapy should have the need for continued therapy re-evaluated on a periodic basis. Patients at low risk of fracture, for example younger patients without a fracture history and with an almost normal bone mineral density, may prove to be good candidates for discontinuation of bisphosphonate therapy after three to five years. Patients at increased risk for fracture, for example, older patients with a history of fracture and a bone mineral density remaining in the osteoporotic range, may benefit further from continuation of this treatment.
Bisphosphonate labels have carried a safety warning about severe jawbone decay (osteonecrosis of the jaw) since 2002. In October 2010, the FDA warned patients and health care professionals about the increased risk of unusual hip fractures and directed manufacturers to include the warning in the safety labels and medication guides that come with prescription medications. The FDA continues to evaluate the possible association of bisphosphonates with esophageal cancer. However, based on current evidences, bisphosphonate treatment has not been significantly associated with excess risk of esophageal cancer.
Bisphosphonates are not the only options
Using bisphosphonates is not the only way to reduce the chances of future bone fractures. There are several other ways of reducing this risk, including: Getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D through foods, staying physically active, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
Did you now that many commonly used medications are the cause of osteoporosis?
I have put together some of the most known and commonly prescribed medications that could cause osteoporosis as follow,
Acid reflux medications
- Maalox and other aluminum-containing antacids
- Nexium®, Prevacid® and Prilosec® and other Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
- Lexapro®, Prozac® and Zoloft® and other Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Dilantin® or Phenobarbital
- Cortisone and prednisone
- Medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception (Depo-Provera®)
- Actos® and Avandia®
- Arimidex®, Aromasin® and Femara®
Being aware about the above medications may help to reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis.
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