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    ASBMR Task Force Reviewing Link Between Fractures and Bisphosphonate Therapy

    Date: March 11, 2010

    Douglas Fesler                        
    +1 202-367-1161


    ASBMR Task Force Reviewing Link Between Fractures and Bisphosphonate Therapy

    International Group to Present Findings This Fall; Issues Interim Guidance

    WASHINGTON, March 11, 2010 - Recent reports suggesting a link between long-term bisphosphonate usage and rare bone fractures have sparked rising concern among patients, health care professionals and the public. The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) is examining this urgent clinical issue and will present its findings later this year.

    The ASBMR is a professional, scientific and medical society that brings together clinical and experimental scientists involved in the study of bone and mineral metabolism. A multidisciplinary, international task force set up by the group will present its findings at ASBMR's Annual Meeting in Toronto, October 15-19, 2010.

    Studies have found that bisphosphonates significantly reduce the risk of broken bones in people with osteoporosis. Patients taking bisphosphonates are typically at a higher risk of breaking a bone without treatment. Existing data suggest a very low risk of developing atypical femoral fractures for patients taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. 

    Elizabeth Shane, MD, Co-Chair of the ASBMR Task Force states: "The published and unpublished data that we've reviewed indicate that these fractures affect fewer than 1 in 10,000 patients on bisphosphonates. Many more fractures of the hip, spine, and other sites are prevented by bisphosphonates than the number of atypical fractures seen.  The risk-benefit ratio, therefore, clearly favors treating patients who have osteoporosis with bisphosphonates."

    Until the ASBMR Task Force completes its work and issues its report, it urges patients and healthcare professionals to follow the recently released guidance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    If you're a patient taking oral bisphosphonates you should:

    • Continue taking medications unless your physician advises otherwise
    • Talk with your doctor if you develop new hip or thigh pain or have any concerns with your medications
    • Report any side effects with your bisphosphonate medication to the FDA MedWatch program

    Healthcare professionals are advised to:

    • Be aware of the possible risk of atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures in patients taking oral bisphosphonates
    • Continue following drug label recommendations when prescribing oral bisphosphonates
    • Discuss with patients the known benefits and potential risks of using oral bisphosphonates
    • Report any adverse events with the use of oral bisphosphonates to the FDA MedWatch program


    About ASBMR

    The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) is the premier professional, scientific and medical society established to promote excellence in bone and mineral research and to facilitate the translation of that research into clinical practice. The ASBMR has a membership of nearly 4,000 physicians, basic research scientists, and clinical investigators from around the world.

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