Thursday, September 2, 2010

Will Five Straight Years Of Fosamax® Prescriptions Double Esophageal Cancer Risks?

A study conducted in the United Kingdom has found that patients over the age of 40 who were on bisphosphonates (like Merck's Fosamax®) for more than five years, increased their risk for esophageal cancers from 1 in 1,000 -- to 2 in 1,000. That may be an acceptable risk elevation, if one has full-on osteoporosis, but I'd think twice about it, if all I had was the largely made-up condition called "osteopenia". Per Reuters reporting, tonight:

. . . .They found that people with 10 or more prescriptions for bisphosphonates, or with prescriptions over about five years, had nearly double the risk of esophageal cancer compared with people with no bisphosphonate prescriptions.

"In Europe and North America, the incidence of esophageal cancer at age 60-79 is typically 1 per 1,000 population over five years, and this is estimated to increase to about 2 per 1,000 with five years' use of oral bisphosphonates," they wrote in a report of their findings.

In people who had one or more previous prescriptions for oral bisphosphonates, the risk of developing of esophageal cancer was 30 percent higher than in those who had never taken the drugs. The researchers found no links between bisphosphonate prescriptions and stomach or bowel cancer.

Green noted that a previous study using the same UK database had found no link between bisphosphonates and esophageal cancer, but said her research had tracked patients for almost twice as long. . . .

We'll keep you posted. I think the next Fosamax ONJ bellwether trial (called Graves v. Merck, et al.) gets underway in Manhattan federeal district court on November 1, 2010.

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