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New studies show that certain osteoporosis drugs (Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax, Reclast), while beneficial at slowing bone loss, are actually detrimental to bone health if use exceeds five years. At this time, the FDA has not reviewed the new studies, however, it has been looking into the long-term use of bisphosphonates.

A practicular area of concern relating to the long-term use of these osteoporosis drugs is the number of healthy women suffering hip fractures. On Thursday, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons met in New Orleans to understand why one woman out of every 50 women who have suffered from hip fractures are having them when they have been on bisphosphonates for longer than five years.

Melvin Rosenwasser, chief of orthopedic trauma surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, whose research is being presented at the conference in New Orleans, has noticed that bone densitomertry (DXA) scans are showing a "buckling potential in the femur area of the hip in patients being treated for osteoporosis with bisphosphonates." He believes the bone mineral quality is not lacking, but that the organization of the bone mineral is not of the highest quality of someone who has not taken bisphosphonates for four years or more.

According to IMS Health, bisphosphonates are among the top-seilling drugs with annual sales surpassing $3.5 billion. With 10 million Americans suffering from osteoporosis and 34 million with low bone mass, the concern is certainly increasing.

Sheller, P.C. is currently handling these cases of this nature and would like to speak with anyone who has taken these drugs and suffered a femur fracture. If you or someone you know is currently taking or has taken these drugs and have suffered a fracture as a result of prolonged use, please contact our office.

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