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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 434-439

Caveats of bisphosphonate abuse

Department of Orthopaedics, P. D. Hinduja National Hospital and MRC, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pradeep Moonot
Department of Orthopaedics, P. D. Hinduja National Hospital and MRC, Mahim (W), Mumbai - 400 016, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.185612

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Background: Bisphosphonates (BPs) are the common drugs used for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Short term benefits of the BPs are well known. However, there are concerns regarding their long term use. The aim of the study was to analyze the association between atypical femoral fractures and BP misuse/abuse as well as study the outcome of management of these fractures. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study of a prospectively studied patients who presented with atypical femoral fractures between January 2010 and August 2012 and were followed up upto June 2014. The cohort consisted of nine female patients (12 fractures) with an average age of 71 years (range 58-85 years). Analysis was done for the indications, duration of BP use, configuration of associated fractures and method of treatment. Results: The mean duration of BP use was 6.6 years (range 4-10 years). BP treatment was initiated without sufficient indication and continued without proper review and followup in most cases. Most patients did not followup and continued to consume BPs without any review by the doctors. All patients had prodromal thigh pain of various duration, which was inadequately investigated and managed before the presentation. Two cases with an incomplete fracture and no thigh pain were managed successfully with conservative treatment. The rest were treated by surgery with intramedullary nailing. The average union time was longer and two fractures went into nonunion which required further surgical intervention. Conclusion: Atypical femoral fractures appear to be strongly related to abuse of BPs. Great care is to be exercised at initiation as well as the continuation of BP therapy, and regular review is required. There is a need for improved awareness among physicians about the possibility of such fractures, and interpretation of thigh pain and radiological findings, especially if the patient has been on BPs therapy. Internal fixation for complete fractures and for incomplete fractures with thigh pain is needed. Delayed union is common.

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