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Warning Over Bone Strengthening Drug


Health Canada has issued a warning over a drug supposedly intended to strengthen bones that could in fact cause an increased risk of fracture in some patients. The group of Canadian meds, which are widely available from Canadian pharmacies, are known as biophosphonates and used to treat men and post menopausal women who are suffering from osteoporosis, but are now under review by Health Canada.

The Canadian meds, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a change in the labeling of in that country, have been the subject of a series of scientific reports that indicate a link between long term use of the drugs and a rare type of bone fracture known as “atypical femur fracture”.

Health Canada has urged patients who are taking the drug, which is commonly available from Canadian pharmacies, to report immediately to their health care professional any instances of unusual or new pain in the groin, hip or thigh areas, as this can be a sign of possible fracture in the hip bone. This type of fracture is rare in the general public, but the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has issued a report saying that, while still uncommon, there does seem to be a greater chance of it developing in those who have been taking biosphosphonates over a long period of time. Based on the evidence so far, however, Health Canada still believes that the benefits of the drugs outweigh the seemingly minor increased risk.

Brand names of drugs that fall into this group include Aclasta, Actonel, Didrocal and Fosamax.

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