Recent Blog Articles
5 inflammation-fighting food swaps
Is IBD an underrecognized health problem in minority groups?
Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do
COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens: What we do — and don’t — know
Happy trails: Take a hike, now
Sleep well — and reduce your risk of dementia and death
COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ community
Polycystic ovary syndrome and the skin
Dental appliances for sleep apnea: Do they work?
Terrified of needles? That can affect your health
In the journals: Study finds no link between bone drugs and unusual thigh fractures
Bisphosphonates are the main class of drugs prescribed to reduce the risk of fractures in women who have osteoporosis or are at high risk for the disease. Since 2008, several medical journals have published case reports describing atypical fractures across the thighbone (femur) in postmenopausal women taking bisphosphonates for five years or more — usually alendronate (Fosamax), the most commonly prescribed bisphosphonate. These fractures involved little or no trauma and were often preceded by weeks to months of thigh pain. X-rays showed thickening in the bone at the fracture sites.
Since the reports appeared, there's been concern about the long-term safety of bisphosphonates, and speculation that in some cases they may ultimately weaken rather than strengthen bone. Scientists have been reviewing existing data on bisphosphonates and hip and thigh fractures. The FDA has also begun a formal safety review.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.