Study finds link between atypical thigh fractures, bone-loss drugs

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Some common drugs used to treat bone loss have been associated with a higher risk for uncommon thigh fractures, according to a recent study.

Among 310 patients who had experienced an uncommon fracture of the thigh bone, 94% had been taking bisphosphonates to help treat osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates can be found in Merck & Co.'s Fosamax, Roche Holding AG's Boniva and Novartis AG's Reclast, the report said. The Food and Drug Administration will consider changes to the drugs' prescribing information based on the report's findings, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Despite the higher risk of these “atypical femur fractures,” patients should not stop taking the drugs because they help prevent other, more common types of fractures, researchers said. These uncommon thigh fractures account for less than 1% of hip and thigh fractures. The report is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.