Osteoporosis Drug Increases Heart Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Osteoporosis drug Fosamax increases risk for developing irregular heart beat.

Fosamax is a drug widely used as osteoporosis treatment - a condition causing bone thinning mainly in post-menopausal women. The study says that the drug increases the risk for developing heart condition called atrial fibrillation, which may sometimes lead to stroke.


The finding comes from researchers at Group Health Center for Health Studies and University of Washington and suggests that those taking Fosamax have 86% increased risk for atrial fibrillation. Researchers examined 719 older women taking the drug and 966 women of similar ages not taking the drug. Researchers conclude that heart risk associated with the drug is major.

Some previous studies have also discussed the link between osteoporosis drug and heart condition. Like a study published in 2007 in New England Journal of Medicine also showed that the drug increases heart risk, but according to FDA, the risk for serious heart conditions is too low to worry about. Another study was published in British Medical Journal earlier this year saying there is no link at all between bisphosphonates and heart risk. Bisphosphonate is the class of drugs, and Fosamax belong to it.

The new study shows significantly increased risk compared to previous studies and urges the need of more research and attention before prescribing osteoporosis drugs. Most of post-menopausal women suffer from bone weakening and the condition goes deeper with age and these women need a treatment to avoid bone breaks. However, 1 out of 200 people aged from 50 to 60 and 1 out of 10 people aged 90 also suffer from atrial fibrillation.

This means those suffering from atrial fibrillation are at higher risk for developing further heart conditions due to osteoporosis drug use than those who don't have heart problem. These people must consult a doctor before taking the drugs and periodically monitor heart condition while using the drug. However, the use of Fosamax is very important, because it significantly improves quality of life for those with weakened bones.