Fosamax Could Increase Throat Cancer Risk

The FDA reported on July 22nd that they are investigating whether bisphosphonates increase the risk of throat cancer, after publication in the UK of conflicting studies on the issue. This new information is pertinent to those who take Fosamax and Boniva because bisphosphonates are routinely prescribed for osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

The conflicting reports stem from two studies reviewed in the UK and the US. A paper published by the British Medical Journal last year suggested bisphosphonate medicines could double the risk of throat and stomach cancer, while the Journal of the American Medical Association, using the same database, concluded there was no increased risk for either throat or stomach cancer. The FDA is advising physicians to instruct patients to carefully follow the directions for taking oral bisphosphonates, as esophagitis and other esophageal events have been reported for patients using the drugs incorrectly.

More than 40 million people in the US either have osteoporosis or are at high risk because of too low bone mass, according to the National Institutes of Health.