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Doctors May Be Overlooking Pain From Bone Density Drugs(2)

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, January 07, 2008 8:02 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Defective Drugs, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Defective and Dangerous Products


Doctors may be overlooking pain from bone density drugs


Actress Sally Field doesn't mention it in her ads for the osteoporosis drug, Boniva.

In an alert posted on its website, the FDA is warning that patients treated with many of the commonly used osteoporosis drugs occasionally develop disabling pain that doctors may not be linking to the drug's use.

The pain usually strikes the muscles, joints and bones and is a previously known risk included in the warning label. The seven FDA approved bone-building drugs include Boniva, the once a month medication that Field advertises, Actonel, Didronel, Reclast, Zometra, Fosamax, and Skelid. 

Few patients report the muscle and joint pain within days months or years after taking the bisphosphonates. In some rare cases the pain is reported to be "incapacitating" for normal movement like walking.

Doctors are advised to "consider whether bisphosphonate use might be responsible for severe musculoskeletal pain ... and consider temporary or permanent discontinuation of the drug," according to the FDA. 

The pain sometimes stops when the drug is discontinued. Sometimes it does not.    

Millions of women take osteoporosis drugs that either slow down the thinning of the bones normally associated with aging and genetics or in some cases rebuild bone.  Over the next six months, the FDA will review hundreds of adverse reports. The assumption is that doctors are not looking for the pain problems and therefore it is under-reported, underdiagnosed and going untreated.  

Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs that slow or stop reabsorbtion of bone. the drugs are also used to treat Paget's disease, metastasis and myeloma.

Bisphosphonates have previously been linked to an inability of jaw bone to regrow after oral surgery also known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, and serious, life-threatening atrial fibrillation, an irregularly fast heartbeat. The FDA is also reviewing those reports which could take as long as six months.   #

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