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Osteoporosis drugs come under new scrutiny.

OSTEOPOROSIS DRUGS COME UNDER NEW SCRUTINY. Bisphosphonates, a class of drugs approved in 1995 to treat bone diseases such as osteoporosis, are under investigation for their role in "atypical," serious fractures of the femur (thigh bone). A task force convened by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research is investigating the possible role these drugs play in these fractures. The task force reviewed 310 cases of atypical femur fractures and found that 94 percent of the patients had taken bisphosphonates longer than five years. Warning signs, as reported by more than half the patients with the femur fractures, included groin or thigh pain for weeks or even months before the fractures occurred. More than a quarter of patients who experienced the atypical fractures in one leg experienced a fracture in the other leg as well. However, "For the vast majority of patients with osteoporosis, these drugs are an important weapon against fractures, and their benefits far outweigh the risks of using them," said task force co-chair and lead author Elizabeth Shane MD, of Columbia University. Millions of people have benefited from the drugs since they were approved. "Bisphosphonates prevent many, many common fractures," said Shane. Bisphosphonates include Aclasta, Actonel, Aredia, Bondronat, Boniva, Didronel, Fosamax, Fosavance, Reclast, Skelid and Zometa.

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Title Annotation:NEWSBRIEFS
Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Date:Nov 1, 2010
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