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Drug may affect dental health
Updated: 1/2/2009 4:00:28 PM

Drug may affect dental health Some patients who use osteoporosis medication to promote dental health may be adversely increasing jaw pain.

A new study from the University of Southern California of Dentistry has found a link between oral bisphosphonates, such as Fosomax, and increased jaw necrosis, which may be detrimental to dental care.

Parish Sedghizadeh, the principal investigator, said the study was the first large institutional study in the U.S. to investigate the relationship between the drug and jawbone death.

Currently, Fosomax is the most widely prescribed oral bisphosphonate to people interested in treating osteoporosis, a condition that affects approximately 10 million Americans.

However, the findings contrast with statements made by the drug maker that claim the osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) risk is only noticeable with intravenous use of the drugs, and not through oral usage.

"We've been told that the risk with oral bisphosphonates is negligible, but four percent is not negligible," said Sedghizadeh. Of the approximately 208 study participants, nine developed ONJ.

Sedghizadeh said he hopes more researchers confirm his findings and urged doctors to talk to their patients about the potential dental health risk from taking Fosomax orally.

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