Bisphosphonates Side Effects
Unfortunately, some women were given bisphosphonates even though they had osteopenia—which is often just a normal loss of bone mineral density—rather than osteoporosis. This may have exposed some women to a greater risk of side effects than was necessary and may have resulted in women being on bisphosphonate medications longer than they should have been.
Side effects of some bisphosphonate medications reportedly include an increased risk atypical femur fracture in women who took bisphosphonate medications for longer than five years. Bisphosphonate medications have also been linked to osteonecrosis of the jaw, esophageal cancer and arrhythmia.
Osteoporotic Bisphosphonates Side Effects
Atypical subtrochanteric fractures—fractures that occur in the femur and often occur when the patient does something simple such as stepping off a curb or walking down stairs.
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)—This often occurs after minor dental trauma and involves death of a portion of the patient's jawbone. Symptoms of ONJ include swelling in the face, pain and inflammation of oral tissue, tooth lose, serious infection, exposed bone and numbness in the jaw. In some cases, portions of the jaw must be cut out surgically.
Esophageal Cancer—The FDA reportedly has documented 68 cases of patients developing esophageal cancer after using bisphosphonate medications. Some studies suggest patients taking osteoporosis medications are at twice the risk of esophageal cancer as those in the general population.
Arrhythmia—A 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that certain bisphosphonates were linked to an increased risk of arrhythmia.
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