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Bone loss drugs linked to femur fractures

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 29 (UPI) -- Treatment with bisphosphonates -- drugs that offset bone loss associated with menopause -- may be linked to femur fractures, Swiss researchers say.

Dr. Raphael P. H. Meier and colleagues from University Hospitals of Geneva and Faculty of Medicine in Switzerland evaluated the association between bisphosphonate treatment and atypical femoral fractures in 477 patients age 50 and older who were hospitalized with a subtrochanteric or femoral shaft fracture at a single university medical center.

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A control group of 200 healthy individuals without femoral fractures was also identified.

The study authors identified 39 patients with atypical fractures and 438 patients with a classic -- a more common fracture with a typical pattern -- fracture. Among the 39 patients in the atypical group, 82.1 percent had been treated with bisphosphonates, compared with 6.4 percent in the classic group.

However, compared with patients without fractures, use of bisphosphonates was associated with a 47 percent reduction in the risk of classic fracture.

"We have demonstrated that the association between bisphosphonate treatment and the occurrence of atypical fractures of the femur is highly likely and that the duration of such treatment significantly correlates with augmented risk," the authors said in a statement.

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The findings were published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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