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Bone-growth drugs may increase jaw disease risk

New study finds link between common drug and jawbone death

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5:36pm, January 2, 2009

Some drugs meant to build bone for people with osteoporosis could increase the risk of developing a devastating jaw infection, a new study suggests. Even short-term use of some osteoporosis drugs may raise the risk of the jaw disease, called osteonecrosis. The results appear January 1 in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Drugs called bisphosphonates — which include the widely prescribed alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva) and risedronate (Actonel) — are taken orally and commonly prescribed to combat osteoporosis, a disease that is marked by weak bones and affects over 10 million people in the United States.

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