Long-term use of osteoporosis drugs may have risk

March 10, 2010 7:33:45 PM PST
The government is reviewing certain bone-building drugs to see if they increase the risk of femur fractures.

The Food and Drug Administration will look into four drugs used to treat osteoporosis: Fosomax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast. The drugs are commonly prescribed to treat osteoporosis and build bone mass.

The FDA is also asking doctors to report any side effects seen with the medications.

Some doctors say patients currently taking the medications should not stop taking them because the benefits outweigh the risk.

"The risk benefit is still in a woman's favor to stay on a bisphosphonate to avoid fractures of the spine or the typical hip fracture. Because the morbidity mortality rate of hip fractures is especially in older women is just huge," said Dr. Sheila Dugan, Rush University.

Dr. Dugan says people with thigh or hip bone pains should consider getting an MRI because those symptoms may indicate that the bone is weakening before it breaks.