Bone Loss & Bisphosphonate Meds

Doc Talk excerpt
A recent lecture on the long-term risks and benefits of therapy for bone loss using the bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, etc.) provided reassuring information. The complication of osteonecrosis of the jaw remains primarily isolated to those patients (generally those on chemo and/or radiation therapy), who have certain types of cancer and are treated with very high doses of several medications. Please note that we are referring to those medications that are only given via intravenous administration, not the oral medications we have been recommending. (However, if you have not yet started fosamax, etc., it might be a wise precaution to have any major dental work done prior to beginning the medication.)

For most of us, the definite fracture-prevention benefits of these meds clearly outweigh their low incidence of risks and side-effects. And the concept of taking a ?drug holiday? from the bisphosphonates means that you may be able to take a break from these meds; but this needs careful evaluation, and must be considered with each of you on an individual basis. PLEASE do not stop these meds on your own. It?s safer to consult with one of us before you modify any of your medications so that we may fully explore your own unique situation!

Will Corell, MD

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