Long-term bisphosphonate therapy of unproven benefit in fracture prevention

The benefit of bisphosphonates beyond 3 years in preventing fracture is unproven, according to a recent systematic review of the clinical data.

The number of people in India with osteoporosis is expected to hit 36 million by 2013, according to a 2012 article in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, the official publication of the Academy of Family Physicians in India (http://www.jfmpc.com/article.asp?issn=2249-4863;year=2012;volume=1;issue=1;spage=66;epage=68;aulast=Sunil).

Key Point: The benefits of long-term bisphosphonate therapy require further study. Rare but serious adverse events associated with bisphosphonates require that physicians and their patients exercise caution in their decision to treat beyond 3 to 5 years.

Researchers at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted the recent systematic review and discussed their findings in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors said that bisphosphonates that have been approved in the United States for the treatment of osteoporosis have shown “robust efficacy in preventing fractures in registration trials lasting 3 to 4 years.” They added: “Recently, however, data on safety have raised concern regarding...

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