ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
CAREGIVING
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Add your Article

Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble

THURSDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The proportion of people taking widely prescribed oral osteoporosis drugs who develop a nasty jaw condition may be much higher than previously thought, a new study suggests.

Previous reports had indicated that the risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) from bisphosphonates in pill form were "negligible," although there was a noted risk in people taking the higher-dose intravenous form of the drug.

But Dr. Parish Sedghizadeh, an assistant professor of clinical dentistry at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, said his clinic is seeing one to four new cases a week, compared to one a year in the past. This led him to investigate the phenomenon and publish the findings in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

"This is more frequent than everybody would like to think it is," said Sedghizadeh, lead author of the study.

ONJ is characterized by pain, soft-tissue swelling, infection, loose teeth and exposed bone.

Dr. James Liu, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at MacDonald Women's Hospital at Case Medical Center, University Hospitals in Cleveland, said the finding "does not mean that women should stop taking the drug if they're on it. It does mean that there may be more frequent side effects than was previously known."

Bisphosphonates are medications used to reduce the risk of bone fracture and to increase bone mass in people with osteoporosis. They're also used to slow bone "turnover" in people who have cancer that has spread to their bones, and in people who have the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Use of bisphosphonates has been associated with other problems in the past, including an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (a type of abnormal heart rhythm), unusual fractures of the thigh bone, and inflammatory eye disease.

After searching the USC School of Dentistry's electronic medical records database, the study authors found that nine of 208 patients taking Fosamax had active ONJ, a prevalence of about 4 percent. All were patients who had undergone some kind of dental procedure, such as having a tooth removed.

Fosamax (alendronate) is the most widely prescribed oral bisphosphonate and has been the 21st most prescribed drug in the United States since 2006, according to background information in the study.

The jaw complication has been seen in patients taking Fosamax for as little as one year. It seems to occur most frequently after routine tooth extraction, the study authors said.

Although no one is sure why bisphosphonates seem to have this effect only on jaw bones, Sedghizadeh speculated that the drugs may make it easier for bacteria to adhere to bone that is exposed after a tooth extraction.

Previously, experts had thought that ONJ in people taking intravenous bisphosphonates was related to their underlying condition (for example, cancer) than to the actual drug, Liu explained.

The USC School of Dentistry now screens every patient for bisphosphonate use.

"As a school now, we don't have complications any more, we only have referrals," Sedghizadeh said. "We put patients on anti-microbial, anti-fungal rinse one week pre-operatively or post-operatively. If they have been on bisphosphonates six months or a year or longer, then we have a prevention protocol which has been very, very effective."

According to a statement released by Merck & Co., which makes Fosamax, the new study "has material methodological flaws and scientific limitations, making it unreliable as a source for valid scientific conclusions regarding the prevalence of ONJ in patients taking alendronate."

No reports of ONJ have been noted in controlled trials involving more than 17,000 patients, the statement said.
-Amanda Gardner

More information

To learn more about ONJ, visit the American Dental Association.



SOURCES: Parish Sedghizadeh, DDS, MS, assistant professor of clinical dentistry, University of Southern California School of Dentistry, Los Angeles; James Liu, M.D., chairman, department of obstetrics and gynecology, MacDonald Women's Hospital at Case Medical Center, University Hospitals, Cleveland; Merck & Co. statement; Jan. 1, 2009, Journal of the American Dental Association

Last Updated: Jan. 01, 2009

Copyright © 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.


More articles at www.eholistic.com