The osteoporosis drugs to improve bone strength have been implicated in
osteonecrosis jaw disease, femur fractures and esophageal cancer. While
the cancer problem is a known one, the rate of this cancer may now be
higher than originally thought. Dr. Beatrice J. Edwards of Northwestern
University in Chicago used government adverse event reports to determine
how many cases were reported and which drug it was most associated with.
She reviewed records for fourteen years starting in 1996, and
was 75% of the cases. A total of over 120 cases were reported. The actual
number of cases is significantly higher, as some reports suggest that
99% of adverse events never get reported. Causal connection may be related
to the long time it takes for the medication to pass through the esophagus.
Users of bisphosphonate drugs should follow instructions carefully. Another
side effect is GERD, and many of our clients are on medication for reflux issues.