FDA: Link B/tw Bisphosphonates & Esophageal Cancer

FDA: Link B/tw Bisphosphonates & Esophageal Cancer

Postby PharmD » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:17 pm

FDA: conflicting studies - whether oral bisphosphonates (osteoporosis) linked to an inc. risk for esophageal cancer?

Not concluded if this class of medications increases the risk for esophageal cancer; believes their ability to decrease the risk for fracture(s) in patients with osteoporosis > known potential risks. Esophogeal cancer = rare, esp in women.

Trying to make sense of studies w/ different conclusions about a possible association between oral bisphosphonates such as alendronate and ibandronate => esophogeal cancer.

Different patient databases = no increased risk or a lower risk for esophogeal cancer.

FDA advises physicians to instruct patients to carefully follow the directions for taking oral bisphosphonates to prevent esophagitis and other esophageal events (if drugs taken incorrectly). Esophagitis & esophageal irritation = potential precursors of cancer.

Proper technique = Take their bisphosphonate with a full glass of water first thing in the morning after they wake up. They should not eat or drink anything or lie down for at least 30 to 60 minutes afterward. Reclining after taking the drug can cause it to wash back up the esophagus.

Bottom Line: Not enough scientific data at this time to justify endoscopic screenings of patients who are taking oral bisphosphonates without any symptoms of esophageal problems.

Adapted from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/746793
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