Popular Bisphosphonates May Cause Esophageal Cancer

According to recent data obtained from the U.K. General Practice Research Database, oral osteoporosis medications known as bisphosphonates may be responsible for an increased risk of esophageal cancer. In the wake of these findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that they intend to launch an extensive campaign to determine the credibility of these accusations. More specifically, the FDA is carefully evaluating the long-suspected link between bisphosphonates and esophageal cancer.

An 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.

Bisphosphonates are used by millions of patients across the globe who are suffering from osteoporosis. More specifically, medications that are classified as bisphosphonates have the ability to inhibit the release of calcium from the skeletal structure. Therefore, bisphosphonates are able to prevent further deterioration of bone by 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.

Unfortunately, the prolonged use of bisphosphonate medications does not demonstrate a favorable risk-benefit profile. On July 21, 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release acknowledging a potential link between oral bisphosphonate drugs and an increased risk of esophageal cancer. The announcement comes in the wake of numerous reports of esophagitis and esophageal events, particularly in individuals who do not follow specific directions when using bisphosphonate medications.

While there is evidence suggesting that bisphosphonates may be responsible for causing esophageal cancer, the FDA notes that there is conflicting data from other researchers, making it unclear whether the throat cancer concerns are based on legitimate findings. Other studies have failed to discover data that supports the link between bisphosphonates and esophageal cancer. In fact, findings have even suggested a reduced risk of cancer.

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.