Bisphosphonate benefits outweigh cancer risk in preventing fractures

THE benefits of oral bisphosphonates in preventing fractures outweigh the concerns of a possible increased risk of oesophageal cancer, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says in an update.

The FDA announced yesterday its review of the safety of oral bisphosphonates was ongoing but  it had not yet reached a conclusion that taking the agents would increase the risk of oesophageal cancer.

Concerns were raised about the safety of oral bisphosphonates last year when a UK study revealed that oesophageal cancer rates were doubled in those who had received 10 or more bisphosphonate prescriptions, or more than five years of use (MO, 3 Sept 2010).

However, a study from the same UK General Practice Research Database found no difference in the risk of developing oesophageal cancer in those who did or didn’t take oral bisphosphonates.

Australian experts at the time urged caution, saying the absolute risk was low and