Long Term Use of Bone Drug
This is a summary from the New York Times about a recent study published in JAMA that suggests there may be rare problems with the long term use of bone strengthening drugs. Note that these worries are not specific for woman with a history of breast cancer, but apply to all women. The catch for us is that many of us are taking, for years, anti-estrogen/hormonal therapies that may weaken our bones. Those medications coupled with the normal changes from aging may put us at greater risk for "normal" bone fractures (as opposed to those described in this article.) This seems to be another one of those "talk to your doctor" about it issues.
Here is the beginning and then a link to read more:
New Cautions About Long-Term Use of Bone Drugs
By TARA PARKER-POPE
In an unusual move that may prompt millions of women to rethink their use of popular bone-building drugs, the Food and Drug Administration published an analysis that suggested caution about long-term use of the drugs, but fell short of issuing specific recommendations. Concerns about bone drugs were prompted by rare reports of an unusual thigh fracture.
The F.D.A. review, published in The New England Journal of Medicine online on Wednesday, was prompted by a growing debate over how long women should continue using the drugs, known as bisphosphonates, which are sold as generic versions of brands like Fosamax and Boniva, as well as Novartis's Reclast.
The concern is that after years of use, the drugs may in rare cases actually lead to weaker bones in certain women, contributing to "rare but serious adverse events," including unusual femur fractures, esophageal cancer and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful and disfiguring crumbling of the jaw bone.
Although the concerns about the long-term safety of bone drugs are not new, the F.D.A. performed its own systematic review of the effectiveness of bisphosphonates after years of use. The agency's analysis, which found little if any benefit from the drugs after three to five years of use, may prompt doctors around the country to rethink how they prescribe them.