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A certain group of drugs may be potentially linked to spontaneously-occurring fractures, a new study finds, after looking upon the possible association of atypical fractures of the femur bone to the use of bisphosphonates. Although the results indicate that taking bisphosphonates and fractures may be related, the researchers also reportedly note that the degree of the risk remains unclear and may still be of minimum extent.

Bisphosphonates are an antiresorptive class of drugs that primarily functions by altering the formation and breakdown of the bone cycle in the body, according to medical experts.  Improving and sustaining bone tissue for strength, and fewer occurrences of fractures are among the reasons these bone-building medications are usually prescribed.

The research team, which has had their research published in the online edition of the Archives of Internal Medication, gathered and analyzed admission radiographs and medical treatment records of over 470 cohorts.  The retrospective study reportedly involved fracture patients –aged 50 years and above — who were admitted at a single university medical center between 1999 and 2010, and a controlled group of about 200 healthy individuals who have not sustained any fractures.  Within a study cohort of 477 participants, the researchers determined atypical femur fracture patients of 39 people, and classic femur fracture sufferers of 438 heads Among the subtrochanteric fracture patients, 32 people or 82.1 percent were treated with bisphosphonates, while 28 patients or 6.4 percent who suffered from classic femoral factures received bisphosphonate medication.

After identifying the patients based on the lengths of their treatment, the Sweden-based research team found that the odds for an atypical fracture over a common fracture was 35 to one for treatment of two years or less, 46 to nine for treatment from of two to five years, 117 to one for treatment ranging from five to nine years, and 175 to 7 treatment of more than nine years, all odds reportedly compared to non-treatment.

Fosamax (alendronate), Actonel (risedronate), Aredia (pamidronate), and Boniva (ibandronate) were among the biphosphonate medications that were reportedly used by the patients in the study.

“In conclusion, we have demonstrated that the association between bisphosphonate treatment and the occurrence of atypical fractures of the femur is highly likely and that the duration of such treatment significantly correlates with augmented risk. However, the incidence rate was very low, and the absolute benefit to risk ratio of bisphosphonate use remains positive,” concluded the authors.

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