The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research recently published a study that examines effects of media reports on the use of oral bisphosphonates. Google trends were utilized to get data from 1996 to 2012 for the media reports; the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Inpatient Sample were used to obtain data regarding fracture outcomes in the United States. Researchers studied patients aged 55 years and older and those hospitalized for hip fractures. In 2008, 15.8% of women older than 55 were using bisphosphonates and in 2010, 1.9% of men used this category of agents. Despite a decade of bisphosphonates use and their effectiveness and lower safety risks concerns, a sharp decline (more than 50%) in their use was noticed between 2008 and 2012 corresponding with a series of media reports that highlighted a rare yet serious adverse effects of bisphosphonates. Series of spikes in Internet search activity for alendronate (Fosamax) occurred between 2006 and 2010 immediately after media reports. The decline in use was mostly noted among white women, rural residents and women with less than a high school degree. It occurred even though doctors and drug regulators did not make recommendations to stop the use. The negative reports about bisphosphonates overlooked the risk of fall-related injuries manifested by osteoporosis, or thinning bones. It is also possible that newer medicines for osteoporosis have contributed to this decline of the decades-old bisphosphonates. What are your thoughts about the methodology of this research, biophosphonates, and the findings?
For additional information please read Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
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