Bisphosphonate therapy for osteoporosis: Benefits, risks, and drug holiday

Journal article


McClung, Michael R., Harris, Steven T., Miller, Paul D., Bauer, Doug C., Davison, K. Shawn, Dian, Larry, Hanley, David A., Kendler, David L., Yuen, Chui Kin and Lewiecki, E. Michael. (2013) Bisphosphonate therapy for osteoporosis: Benefits, risks, and drug holiday. American Journal of Medicine. 126(1), pp. 13 - 20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.06.023
AuthorsMcClung, Michael R., Harris, Steven T., Miller, Paul D., Bauer, Doug C., Davison, K. Shawn, Dian, Larry, Hanley, David A., Kendler, David L., Yuen, Chui Kin and Lewiecki, E. Michael
Abstract

The amino-bisphosphonates are first-line therapy for the treatment of most patients with osteoporosis, with proven efficacy to reduce fracture risk at the spine, hip, and other nonvertebral skeletal sites. Further, bisphosphonates have been associated with a significant decrease in morbidity and increase in survival. Following the use of bisphosphonates in millions of patients in clinical practice, some unexpected possible adverse effects have been reported, including osteonecrosis of the jaw, atypical femur fractures, atrial fibrillation, and esophageal cancer. Because bisphosphonates are incorporated into the skeleton and continue to exert an antiresorptive effect for a period of time after dosing is discontinued, the concept of a drug holiday has emerged, whereby the risk of adverse effects might be decreased while the patient still benefits from antifracture efficacy. Patients receiving bisphosphonates who are not at high risk for fracture are potential candidates for a drug holiday, while for those with bone mineral density in the osteoporosis range or previous history of fragility fracture, the benefits of continuing therapy probably far outweigh the risk of harm.

Keywordsadverse events; bisphosphonates; drug holiday; fracture
Year2013
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Journal citation126 (1), pp. 13 - 20
PublisherExcerpta Medica, Inc.
ISSN0002-9343
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.06.023
Page range13 - 20
Research GroupInstitute for Health and Ageing
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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