How does bisphosphonate therapy affect bone turnover in patients with osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Over time, bisphosphonate therapy decreases bone turnover and, at very high levels in animals, decreases bone strength and resilience. Some limited reports, including that by Odvina et al, describe patients on long-term bisphosphonate therapy developing transverse stress fractures; biopsy specimens of these individuals have suggested extremely low turnover states in some of them. [158]

Alendronate and risedronate inhibit bone resorption at doses 10-fold lower than those reducing osteoclast number. Thus, suppression of bone resorption with these agents is independent of their effects on apoptosis. [159]

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