As it relates to osteoporosis news, this past September will be one to remember. In response to a growing number of reported adverse effects linked to bisphosphonates – the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, and Boniva, to name a few – an FDA advisory committee met this past Friday to discuss yet one more label change.
Indeed, as the problems caused by bisphosphonate therapy keep piling up – including Osteonecrosis of the Jaw and esophageal cancer – it seems that health regulators cannot look the other way.
But this is really not so “new”. Last year, bisphosphonate drug labels were required to warn of an increased risk of atypical femur fractures, based on a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Bisphosphonates Suffer Yet One More Blow
Now the label change needs to warn that the drug should not be used long term, but it fails to establish a more detailed guideline. As Medpage Today reports,
“… committee members voted 17-6 to endorse a label change — but then backed away from setting a hard deadline, citing a lack of data to pinpoint an ideal therapeutic time limit.” 1
The panel has called for more studies to determine the benefits and long-term risks of these drugs. However, some health practitioners, as is the case of Dr. Sonia Hernandez at Harvard School of Public Health, are openly expressing concern about long-term bisphosphonate therapy. Quoting from the same article, she states that,
“What we’re talking about today is using these drugs for more than three years, and I’m not convinced at all that there are any good data that, even for subgroups of patients, they should be continued [past three years].” 1
Of course here at Save Our Bones, we question if these drugs should be taken at all.
And in other osteoporosis news…
Lakes Suffering from ‘Aquatic Osteoporosis’
Queen’s University researchers have discovered that some Canadian lakes have increased algae growth due to falling calcium levels in the water.
According to John Smol, one of the university’s Biology professor and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change,
“It’s aquatic osteoporosis. The calcium is washed off (by acid rain) to the bottom of the lake. The water fleas (that feed on the algae) have quite high calcium needs and without the calcium they can’t reproduce, so there’s a lot more algae.” 2
Another research team member explains that besides logging, the main culprit is “acidification”, which
“Has washed the calcium reserves off the bedrock.” 2
In ‘What the Oceans Can Teach You About Your Bones’, I discuss ocean acidification and its deleterious effects on marine life skeletons. I also comment that since biologists are not held captive by Big Pharma, they seem to easily draw the parallel between human and environmental osteoporosis.
This is now further confirmed by the Canadian researchers, who are quick to acknowledge that osteoporosis is caused by too much acidification.
Stay tuned for more osteoporosis news…
Till next time,