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Osteoporosis Drugs Linked to Dental Problems

People who take osteoporosis drugs such as Actonel, Boniva and Fosamax should be aware that such medications have been linked to rare but serious dental complications. The problem is called osteonecrosis of the jaw, or jawbone death. It may be triggered by invasive dental procedures such as tooth extraction. Unfortunately, a recent study suggests that some patients don’t know about this complication. 73 people taking bisphosphonates and seeking dental care were questioned. Most of them knew that they were taking the drugs to strengthen their bones, but 82 percent could not remember their doctors telling them about the risk of jawbone death. The researchers call for better communication between doctors, dentists, and the patients who see them both so that risks can be minimized.

[Journal of the American Dental Association, May 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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