ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
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