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Bone-growth drugs may increase jaw disease risk

New study finds link between common drug and jawbone death

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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