A Battle Over Oral Bisphosphonates
The future of osteoporosis drugs
Though the jury concluded Fosamax is still an effective treatment, many other patients believe otherwise, debating whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks. Even the Food and Drug Administration warned patients in October after evidence was found that Fosamax may lead to thigh fractures after prolonged usage.
Doctors have responded accordingly, the New York Times adds:
But the drugs popularity and effectiveness for generally healthy women without osteoporosis or broken bones have become a source of increasing argument in doctors offices and in courtrooms.
Doctors had already started to review the unlimited use of oral bisphosphonates, said Dr. Elizabeth Shane, a professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Fifteen years ago, she said, the medical community hoped that if women took the drugs before they developed osteoporosis, they would be protected from breaking bones later in life. But doctors have begun waiting longer before prescribing the drugs, she added.
As a result of experiences with bisphosphonates like Mrs. Graves's, studies have been conducted to determine the optimal time for stopping treatment, and for how long. For example, a study at the Loyola University Health System found that taking a drug holiday from osteoporosis drugs will actually protect your bones in the long term because of the dangers of long-term bisphosphonates use.