Besides Fossy Jaw and excruciating muscle pain, taking bisphosphonate drugs may make women more likely to have atrial fibrillation. That is a heart problem that can lead to strokes.
In a study of 700 women, those who had taken bisphosphonate drugs for ANY length of time had an 86% higher risk of atrial fibrillation. The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Since the bone drugs were initially designed for the high risk, aging population with chronic osteoporosis and were never tested for younger women, the FDA did not make the drug companies test for this problem although they knew it existed. However the drug companies were not satisfied with such a small market and have since brainwashed doctors into prescribing the drugs to millions of women who are far from having severe bone disease. They are selling the drug as a preventive measure with no valid testing beyond ten years.
In fact, doctors I have spoken to have said they don’t allow their patients to take the drug longer than ten years. But since they start pushing it on women under 50 now, that is a very short-sighted view.
Anyway now the drug companies are trying to push the monthly bone drug, the FDA is getting a little worried about the possible problems with the heart from a drug four times as toxic. So it has decided to study the matter for one year. At the end of that time they will probably decide that there is not enough information and procrastinate some more, instead of protecting women as they are supposed to do.
There is excellent coverage of the whole issue of bone drugs and bone tests on Byron Richards sitehere. It goes into detail on how the drugs work by causing inflammation in the bone, which is why it looks bigger on the dexa scans after the drugs. He also says that "numerous studies with bone biopsies show that bisphosphonate treated bone is actually swollen, chaotically disorganized and weaker than healthy bone."
So, now there is even more reason to get off the drug if you are on it and to tell your friends not to fall for the drug pitch when their bones first start to get a little thinner with age. Strong, thin, flexible bones beat swollen, inflamed brittle bones any day of the week.