Bone strengthening pills linked to jaw bone damage

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - It has been known for a while that injections of a class of anti-osteoporosis drugs might trigger jaw bone decay after certain dental procedures, and now it seems that pill forms of the so-called bisphosphonate medications could have the same side effect.

Specifically, a study conducted at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles found that oral treatment with alendronate (more familiar as Fosamax) for as little as a year increases the risk for the jaw bone disease after a tooth extraction or other dental problem.

Dr. Parish P. Sedghizadeh and colleagues report the finding in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Sedghizadeh’s team analyzed electronic medical records at their institution and found that, of 208 patients who had taken alendronate pills, nine (4 percent) had active jaw bone decay, or osetonecrosis. All the affected patients were women, ranging in age from 63 to 80, who had taken 70 milligrams of alendronate once per week for 12 to 120 months.

“We’ve been told that the risk with oral bisphosphonates is negligible, but four percent is not negligible,” Sedghizadeh said in a press release.

Four cases developed following tooth extractions and five were associated with denture-related ulcers.

By contrast, the problem was not seen among some 13,500 dental patients who had not taken alendronate.

The researchers suggest that for patients taking a bisphosphonate, other treatment options should be considered “for nonnecessary extractions.” For necessary extractions, “good oral hygiene should be achieved” first.

They recommend updating dental surgery consent forms, to warn patients on bisphosphonate therapy that they may be at risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Dental Association, January 2009.


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Among nursing home residents, having a nursing aide help them maintain good oral hygiene lowers the odds of them dying from pneumonia, a study suggests. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in elderly nursing home residents, Dr. Carol W. Bassim and colleagues point out in the Journal of the American

Full Post: Oral hygiene curbs pneumonia risk in elderly

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Among premenopausal women taking steroids for lupus, various treatments preserve bone mineral density and “should be considered” for preventing the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, advise researchers in a report published this month. Lupus, technically known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, is a chronic “autoimmune” disease in which the immune system can

Full Post: Attention to bones important in women with lupus

By Gene Emery BOSTON (Reuters) - Merck’s popular osteoporosis drug Fosamax and other similar drugs may carry a risk for esophageal cancer, a Food and Drug Administration official said on Wednesday. Diane Wysowski of the FDA’s division of drug risk asessment said researchers should check into potential links between so called bisphosphonate drugs and cancer. In a letter

Full Post: Esophageal cancer linked to osteoporosis drugs

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Computed tomography (CT) of the chest can serve a dual purpose in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), measuring both the severity of emphysema and vertebral bone density, physicians in Japan report. Many features besides the lung are associated with COPD, indicating it is a systemic disease, Dr. Toyohiro Hirai

Full Post: CT imaging useful to measure bone loss in COPD

By Anne Harding NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If the US health care system “started to take osteoporosis seriously,” it could slash the number of Americans who suffer hip fractures by at least 25 percent, according to one of the authors of a new report on managing the brittle bone disease. Dr. Richard Dell, an orthopaedic surgeon

Full Post: Aggressive bone care could prevent hip fractures

Site Navigation

Most Read