Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study links long-term use of osteoporosis drugs to unusual fractures

23.02.2011
Women who take commonly prescribed drugs for osteoporosis known as bisphosphonates for five years or more may be at higher risk of certain kinds of fractures of their thigh bone, a new study has found.

However, the drugs do prevent hip fractures. And, since the overall risk of thigh bone fractures caused by the drugs is low, women at high risk for hip and other osteoporosis-related fractures should not stop taking bisphosphonates, according to researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

The study was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Typical hip fractures caused by osteoporosis occur in the upper part of the femur close to the hip joint and are an important cause of disability, need for long-term care and even death in the elderly. The risk of these kinds of fractures is reduced by bisphosphonate treatment, which was confirmed by this study.

But the study found that less common fractures lower down from the hip and closer to the middle of the femur –sometimes called "atypical" or "unusual" fractures -- occurred more than 2.5 times as often in women who had taken bisphosphonates for more than five years than short-term users of the drug..

"Prolonged use of bisphosphonates is associated with rare and unusual fractures of the femur," said the lead author, Laura Park-Wyllie, a pharmaceutical safety and outcomes researcher at St. Michael's. "But the proven benefit of these drugs for the much more common fractures of osteoporosis usually outweighs the harm, especially in the initial years of treatment for osteoporosis. Women with osteoporosis, at high risk for osteoporotic fractures, should not stop taking bisphosphonate therapy because of the small risk of these thigh fractures."

Park-Wyllie said the study was prompted by an increasing number of reports of thigh bone fractures among older women who have taken the drugs sold as Fosamax, Actonel or Didrocal for five years or more and by conflicting findings from small, observational studies.

The St. Michael's-ICES study is the largest assessment of the issue to date. The researchers identified 205,466 women over age 68 who had been prescribed bisphosphonates between 2002 and 2008.

Of those, 716 women (0.35 per cent) had a fracture of the femur. These women were compared to other women of similar ages who had also been prescribed the drugs but who did not have femur fractures.

"Our study estimated that the risk of fractures to the femur was 0.13 per cent for women entering their sixth year on the drug – or just over one in 1,000," Park-Wyllie said. "Use of bisphosphonates for less than five years was not associated with a significant risk of thigh fractures."

About 50 per cent of women over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture. The most common involve the wrist and the spine, but hip fractures can have some of the most severe consequences, with one in five of those women expected to die within 12 months.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The Hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research at St. Michael's Hospital is recognized and put into practice around the world. Founded in 1892, the Hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About ICES

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of health care issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting health care needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:

Leslie Shepherd
Senior Public Relations Specialist
St. Michael's Hospital
Phone: 416-864-6094 or cell 647-300-1753
Shepherdl@smh.ca
Deborah Creatura
Media Relations
ICES
416-480-4780
deborah.creatura@ices.on.ca

Leslie Shepherd | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.smh.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>