Osteoporosis Drugs

The Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008; 300 (24):2846

Author: Bridget M. Kuehn

An ongoing review of the safety of bisphosphonates has not found a link between the drugs and atrial fibrillation, according to an update issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November. The agency began reviewing the safety of this class of drugs in October 2007 after reports of elevated rates of atrial fibrillation in patients taking bisphosphonates emerged (Black DM et al. N Engl J Med. 2007;356[18]:1809-1822).

Bisphosphonates, including alendronate, etidronate, ibandronate, pamidronate, risedronate, tiludronate, and zoledronic acid, are used to treat osteoporosis, to slow bone turnover in patients with Paget disease, and to treat bone metastases and lower excess blood calcium levels in patients with cancer. The FDA examined data from clinical trials involving 19,687 patients taking these drugs and 18,358 patients taking a placebo. It found no clear association between bisphosphonate exposure and the rate of atrial fibrillation; it also found . . .

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