According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, bone building bisphosphonates such as Fosamax do not decrease a woman’s chances of developing colon cancer. The findings contrast with previous research that indicated the drugs might be associated with a lower incidence of certain cancers, including colon cancer.
Newer JCO Study Contradicts 2011 Report
In February 2011 researchers at the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, Israel concluded that women who used bisphosphonates for more than one year had a 59 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer than women who didn’t use the drugs, which include Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Reclast. That study, also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), was based on nearly 1,900 postmenopausal women.
The newest JCO study on bisphosphonate use and colorectal cancer followed 86,000 U.S. nurses for more than ten years, eventually identifying 801 who’d developed colon cancer. Based on this subset, the researchers concluded that the risk of colon cancer was the same among bisphosphonate users and non-users regardless of the duration of bisphosphonate treatment.
“It is not clear whether bisphosphonates have any role in treatment of colorectal cancer, and our data does not supports its routine use as a (preventative) agent for colorectal cancer,” said lead researcher Dr. Hamed Khalili of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The study reveals no correlation at all—neither positive nor negative—between bisphosphonates like Fosamax and colon cancer. However, other research has found that the use of bisphosphonates might reduce breast cancer risk.
Bisphosphonates Linked to Negative Side Effects
While the latest JCO study casts doubt on a positive Fosamax side effect, one of the drug’s negative side effects—its tendency to cause femur fractures—was confirmed last month by Swiss researchers. Doctors from Geneva, by evaluating 477 femur fracture victims, found that around 82 percent of patients with an atypical femur fracture (a rare type of thigh bone break) had taken bisphosphonates. The researchers further identified a correlation between the duration of bisphosphonate treatment and the occurrence of atypical fractures.
In May 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its own analysis showing that long-term use of bisphoshponates has little benefit for the majority of osteoporotic, postmenopausal women.
Merck & Co., the maker of Fosamax, currently faces thousands of lawsuits alleging that the drug causes femur fractures and other injuries. If you took Merck’s blockbuster osteoporosis medication and subsequently suffered a thigh bone break, it is worthwhile to discuss it with a lawyer, as you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To confidentially submit the details of your case for a free evaluation, contact RLG’s lawyers online or by calling 1-877-332-2347.
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