Bisphosphonates are the cornerstone of treatment for osteoporosis. These agents are generally safe and well-tolerated, but concerns have emerged about adverse effects related to long-term use, namely osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femur fractures. For most patients at moderate or high risk of fracture, the benefits of treatment far outweigh these serious but rare risks. Bisphosphonates accumulate in bone with some persistent protective effect after therapy is stopped, making it is reasonable to consider a “drug holiday.” The duration of therapy and the length of the holiday should be based on clinical judgment
From the 1Cincinnati VA Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, and 2Mercy Health Osteoporosis & Bone Health Services, Cincinnati, OH.
Released April 1, 2013