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Is Your Bone-Building Rx Killing You?

by Cindy Gray

Years of research into osteoporosis led to the development of "bone-building" bisphosphonate drugs which were hailed a huge step forward in the fight against brittle bones. However, Boniva® side effects and the dangers of Fosamax®, two of the leading prescription medications, are now becoming apparent. 

Boniva side effects may add to the problems of poor bone density as we age.

How do Bone-Building Drugs work?

Time has shown that Boniva, Fosamax and other bisphosphonates may not be quite as effective as they were thought to be when it comes to treating osteoporosis and brittle bones due to aging.

These medications were believed to improve bone density, but studies now show that they simply prevent osteoclasts from breaking down old bone. Although this prevents bone loss, it doesn’t build new bone; instead it keeps worn old bone around longer than nature intended causing unpleasant side effects from Boniva, Fosamax and similar drugs.

Boniva Side Effects

The side effects of Boniva include several undesirable health consequences. These drugs are thought to cause arthritis, esophageal cancer, kidney problems and liver toxicity. The dangers of Fosamax are well documented and are similar to Boniva side effects, including atypical fractures, jaw problems (osteonecrosis), extreme bone and joint pain and esophageal ulcers.

In addition, orthopedic surgeons and bone specialists have noticed a rise in the number of unusual fractures in patients who have been using bone-strengthening drugs for years. Studies suggest that one of the side effects of Fosamax and Boniva is a higher risk of atypical fractures – precisely what the drugs were meant to prevent. The theory is that these drugs actually shut down the body's natural bone-renewal process, exacerbating the problem of old and brittle bones.

RelatedEating to Prevent Osteoporosis

In particular, women who have taken bisphosphonal drugs for more than five years are three times more likely to suffer fractures than those who don't. This means that the side effects of Boniva and similar bisphosphonates will affect millions of post-menopausal women.

Less serious Fosamax and Boniva side effects include nausea, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes and eye problems.

How to avoid the Side Effects of Fosamax and other Bisphosphonates

The advice from a number of experts is that women should not start to take these drugs too early, and should not to stay on them for too long. Although the drugs are effective in the short-term for preventing osteoporosis, the dangers of Fosamax and Boniva become apparent with long-term use.

Many doctors feel that there is a justifiable need for bisphosphonates, but these drugs have been over-prescribed, leading to unnecessary side effects from Fosamax and Boniva for users who never really needed to take such drugs in the first place. 

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