Osteoporosis Drugs May Lead to Eye Trouble:
MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- First-time users of
osteoporosis drugs called oral bisphosphonates may be at increased
risk for serious inflammatory eye disease, a new study
Oral bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax and Actonel, are the most
commonly prescribed class of drugs to prevent or slow osteoporosis,
a disease that causes very weak bones. Previous studies have linked
the drugs to problems such as unusual fractures, irregular
heartbeat and esophageal and colon cancer.
In addition, some case reports have shown an association between
the drugs and inflammatory eye diseases -- anterior uveitis and
scleritis -- that can cause serious vision impairment.
In this new study, Canadian researchers compared nearly 11,000
first-time users of oral bisphosphonates and more than 920,000
non-users. First-time users had incidence rates of 29 per 10,000
person-years for uveitis and 63 per 10,000 person-years for
scleritis, compared with 20 per 10,000 and 36 per 10,000,
respectively, for non-users. Per-person years are determined by
multiplying the number of participants by the number of years the
drugs are taken.
The study is published April 2 in the journal
"We found that first-time users of bisphosphonates are at an increased risk of scleritis and uveitis," wrote Dr. Mahyar Etminan, of the Child and Family Research Institute and the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and colleagues in a journal news release.
"Our study highlights the need for clinicians to inform their patients about the signs and symptoms of scleritis and uveitis, so that prompt treatment may be sought and further complications averted," they added.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation has more about
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