Friday, September 03, 2010

Osteoporosis drugs' cancer link

A new study released in British Medical Journal suggests that long-term use of oral bisphosphonates may raise the risk of esophageal cancer. The study led by researchers from the University of Oxford's Cancer Epidemiology Unit found people who took oral bisphosphonates for bone disease over a five-year period were twice as likely to be diagnosed with esophageal cancer or cancer of the gullet.

Oral bisphosphonates are indicated for treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases and are most commonly recommended to treat these conditions. The study involved 2,954 patients with esophageal cancer, 2,018 patients with stomach cancer and 10,641 patients with colorectal cancer, who were diagnosed with the diseases at the age of 40 or older between 1995 and 2005. The researchers compared the data from the cancer patients who took oral bisphosphonates for more than five years or were given 10 or more prescriptions were twice as likely to develop esophageal cancer. The drugs did not seem to affect the risk of stomach cancer or colorectal cancer.

Bonnie - this is certainly not the first, and surely will not be the last, major, debilitating side effect attributed to bisphosphonates. The list of side effects just keeps growing as more research is compiled.

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