Esophageal Cancer Scare Continues: Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax, Reclast, Zometa

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 Fosamax 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.