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Benefits of Osteoporosis Treatments Outweigh Possible Risk of Rare Femoral Fractures
Date:3/24/2010

The occurrence of an unusual type of fracture of the femur, or the thigh bone, is very low in patients with osteoporosis, including those treated with the drug family known as bisphosphonates, according to a new study led by a team of UCSF epidemiologists.

San Francisco, CA (Vocus) March 24, 2010 -- The occurrence of an unusual type of fracture of the femur, or the thigh bone, is very low in patients with osteoporosis, including those treated with the drug family known as bisphosphonates, according to a new study led by a team of UCSF epidemiologists.

While these unusual femur fractures have been reported in case series studies in patients, particularly in those taking bisphosphonates, this UCSF study is the first to examine their occurrence systematically using data from randomized trials, the most rigorous type of study design. The study combined data from three bisphosphonate trials that involved more than 14,000 patients.

The new findings contextualize reports from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and news stories on bisphosphonates and femur fractures that have appeared in recent weeks, according to study principal investigator Dennis Black, PhD, UCSF professor of epidemiology and biostatistics.

The study shows that these fractures remain rare even in a population of women who have been taking the drugs for as long as 10 years, said Black, who specializes in osteoporosis treatment and prevention in post menopausal women. While the risk was not significantly increased among the women taking bisphosphonates compared to placebo, the number of events was too low to definitely rule out a relationship, he said.

The study is scheduled to appear online on March 24, 2010 at NEJM.org and will be published in an upcoming print issue of The New Eng
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