Bisphosphonates Generate Ambiguous Results Regarding Esophageal Cancer

In an all too familiar situation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found itself re-examining safety data regarding the use of bisphosphonate medications. This turn of events comes in the wake of numerous conflicting reports that provide the public with ambiguous results regarding oral bisphosphonates and the risk of esophageal cancer.

Bisphosphonates are intended to assist in the treatment of osteoporosis. More specifically, they have the inherent ability to preserve calcium supplies in the body. Therefore, bisphosphonates are able to prevent the deterioration of bone by significantly increasing bone density and mass.

Through homeostasis, bone naturally undergoes turnover and is kept in balance by osteoblasts generating new bone and osteoclasts destroying old bone. This process assists in the healthy development of the skeletal structure. In patients with osteoporosis, bone dexterity is diminished at a more rapid rate than it is generated. Bisphosphonates inhibit the breakdown of bone by preventing the osteoclasts from destroying the bone any further. As a result, they promote the steady development of the skeletal structure.

The FDA is currently reviewing two particular epidemiological studies in which the same patient database yielded two different conclusions. Each of the studies in question utilized information obtained from the U.K. General Practice Research Database. However, their results provide an ambiguous conclusion as to whether or not bisphosphonates are responsible for causing esophageal cancer.

The first observational study, using information gathered from the U.K. General Practice Research Database, reviewed a number of drugs that had been approved to assist in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. The prescription medications in question include Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Didronel and Skelid. Each of which are orally administered bisphosphonates used to treat a number of bone diseases.

The study lends weight to the long-suspected link between bisphosphonate medications and esophageal cancer. Researchers found that patients on a prolonged regimen of bisphosphonates, longer than three years, may double their risk of developing esophageal cancer.

While the first study believed there was conclusive evidence that suggested bisphosphonates may double the risk of esophageal cancer, a second study suggests otherwise. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concluded that among patients in the UK General Practice Research Database, the use of oral bisphosphonates was not significantly associated with incident esophageal or gastric cancer.

Despite the dangers that may be associated with particular osteoporosis medications, the benefits they provide in reducing the risk of serious fractures continue to outweigh the potential risks.

Do I Have a Bisphosphonate Lawsuit?

The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in bisphosphonate lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by a bisphosphonate, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.