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New task force report on bisphosphonate use and atypical femur fractures in osteoporosis patients
Date:9/13/2010

Washington, DC, SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 A widely prescribed class of drugs is highly effective in reducing common bone fractures in people with osteoporosis, but an expert panel announced today that these same drugs when used long term may be related to unusual but serious fractures of the thigh bone. In the most comprehensive scientific report to date on the topic, the task force reviewed 310 cases of "atypical femur fractures," and found that 94 percent (291) of patients had taken the drugs, most for more than five years. The task force members emphasized that atypical femur fractures represent less than one percent of hip and thigh fractures overall and therefore are very uncommon.

The task force was convened by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research the leading scientific organization on bone science in the wake of growing concern about the connection between these drugs, called bisphosphonates, and unusual femur fractures. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in March that it would await the report before making recommendations about bisphosphonates and has received a copy of the task force's report. The report was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

"For the vast majority of patients with osteoporosis, these drugs are an important weapon against fractures and their benefits far outweigh the risks of using them," said task force co-chair and lead author Elizabeth Shane, M.D., of Columbia University. "Most of the patients who experienced these atypical femur fractures had been taking bisphosphonates for more than five years. However, we are concerned that there may be a relationship between these fractures and long-term bisphosphonate use and, although the risk is low, we want to make sure that people know about the warning signs," she said.

The task force is calling for additional product labeling, better identification and tracking of patients experiencing these breaks, a
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Contact: Sara Knoll
sknoll@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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