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Study links bisphosphonate drug use to jaw bone disorder

Filed October 25th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

Bisphosphonate drugs taken to prevent bone loss increases a person’s chance of developing a serious bone disorder when they undergo a dental procedure.

According to a report from medwireNews, a new study appearing in the publication International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery shows that people taking one of the myriad bisphosphonate drugs – prescribed to menopausal women to prevent bone loss – are at greater risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) when they undergo a tooth extraction than people who are not taking the drugs.

The most popular brand names of bisphosphonate drugs include Fosamax, Reclast, Zometa, Actonel, Boniva, and others. This study is the latest to link use of these drugs to harmful side effects. Many of those side effects, ironically, including putting people at risk of suffering bone fractures, bone loss, or in this case, death of the bone.

The study was conducted at Kyoto University in Japan. Researchers there found that people receiving bisphosphonate drugs intravenously faced a higher risk of developing ONJ following a dental procedure than those receiving an oral dose. Preventative care prior to a dental procedure could reduce the risk of infections that often lead to ONJ.

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