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Bisphosphonates, Long Bone Fractures and Diet

06/8/2011
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Prescription drugs are not the solution to all of our health problems.  In fact, they can be the cause of many of them.

Many patients who are being prescribed bisphosphonates for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, such as Fosamax, Aredia, and Zometa, are unaware of the risk of long bone or atypical femur fractures associated with the use of these drugs.  Although the risk is small, some patients are at a higher risk for these fractures than others.

Studies have shown that the use of bisphosphonates for 5 years or longer is associated with a higher risk of femoral shaft fractures than transient use of bisphosphonates.  The risk decreases substantially once the use of bisphosphonates is discontinued.  However, bisphosphonates remain in a patient’s system for up to 10 years and have the potential to cause harm long after they have been discontinued.  Additionally, women who ingested these osteoporosis drugs at the same time as corticosteroids or hormone replacement therapy may face greater risks of atypical fractures.

Patients should assess their individual risk of long bone fractures.  In order to determine if they are at risk, patients should read the drug warning label and ask their physician whether their risk of developing long bone fractures outweighs the benefits that the drug can provide.

Osteoporosis affects one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50.  Each year, 22 million prescriptions for bisphosphonates are written for the treatment of osteoporosis.  Bisphosphonates have been demonstrated to impair the body’s ability to regenerate bones, leaving bones weak and brittle.  Patients taking bisphosphonates may actually be increasing their risk of osteoporosis by taking these drugs.

Drugs are not the only way to maintain healthy bones.  Bone health can be maintained without the use of drugs by eating a diet high in amino acids, vitamin D, consuming a healthy balance of omega 6 and 3 fats, and avoiding processed foods, gluten, soda, and sugar.  Exercise is also important for the maintenance of bone health.

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