The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently voted in favor of updating the labels of popular bisphosphonate drugs used to treat osteoporosis. Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Atelvia, and Reclast will all require new labeling to indicate that these drugs should not be used for longer than a certain period of time. The specifics on what that period of time may vary between the drugs, and the specifics are not yet known.
Fosamax, Boniva, and the other bisphosphonate drugs have been linked to dangerous fractures of the femur, generally considered the strongest bone in the body. Anecdotal evidence has shown that many women taking Fosamax have broken their femur by simply walking.
It’s been noted that the longer these drugs are taken, the risk for dangerous side effects, such as femur breaks, jaw damage, and esophageal cancer, increases with duration of use. The FDA panel voted 17-6 to recommend that the manufacturers of Fosamax, Boniva, and the other bisphosphonates update their product labels to clarify the best duration of use.
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