Rare Fractures Linked To Drugs For Weak Bones : NPR
Schneider was one of the first women to suffer from one of these unusual fractures among patients who've been taking osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates for years. Or at least her case was one of the first reported in a medical journal, back in early 2006.
Since then, orthopedic surgeons and bone specialists have been seeing more of these unusual fractures among long-term users of bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast.
There have been conflicting studies about the possible association between long-term use of such drugs and the risk of atypical fractures. The latest and largest study, a Canadian report published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that women who've been on bisphosphonates for more than five years have a nearly three times higher risk of the unusual fractures than those with only transient exposures to the drugs.
"Although the number of fractures, these unusual fractures, was pretty small — they're pretty rare — (the study) nonetheless did show a relationship with longer-term use," says Dr. Gillian Hawker of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, an osteoporosis specialist and study author.
Schneider has led an effort to restrict the use of the bone drug Fosamax, saying extended use can lead to femur fractures like the one she had in 2001. Other Osteoperosis drugs include Actonel, Boniva and Reclast