Safety of bisphosphonates.
Pazianas M., Abrahamsen B.
Bisphosphonates are one of the most well studied groups of medications and they are bone specific. This tissue specificity is a rare property for a drug introduced into clinical practice as long as 40 years ago. Over the years, the therapeutic boundaries of bisphosphonates were explored and their safety profile has withstood the challenges of the harsh clinical reality and widespread use. Certainly, the esophageal or gastric irritation caused by the oral preparations is an established adverse effect, the risk of which can be reduced by the recommended routine of taking the medication. From the other reported associations with adverse events, osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and subtrochanteric fractures have attracted most of the attention mainly because their pathophysiology remains unclear. However, overall, only a very small proportion of patients treated with bisphosphonates, especially with the oral formulations, experience adverse events and the overall benefits have consistently outweighed their potential risks. Furthermore, bisphosphonates improve the quality of life in patients with metastatic bone cancer and delay the development of adverse skeletal effects.