Our bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt throughout our lives in a process called bone remodeling. As adults, this can include up to 10% of our entire skeletal mass at any one time. This process gives our bones the ability to grow and also heal after injuries. When there is an imbalance between how much bone is reabsorbed and how much new bone is made, Osteoporosis occurs.
Recent reports are showing that osteoporosis patients who take bisphosphonates like Fosamax may be unable to grow new bone, even if they stop taking the drug. This was shown in a study where bisphosphonates reduced the effectiveness of parathyroid hormone (PTH) treatment, a technique used to stimulate new bone growth in osteoporosis patients.
Bisphosphonates like Fosamax work by preventing the breakdown of current bone mass. As Fosamax is absorbed into the bones it inhibits osteoclast cells, which are responsible for breaking down old bone. Because the destruction and creation of bone mass are closely related, Fosamax also prevents new bone from forming by stopping osteoclast cells from signaling the osteoblast cells responsible for bone building.
The effects Fosamax has on a patient’s bones are somewhat irreversible as it remains deposited in bones for years due to its very long half-life. Even if a patient stops taking Fosamax, it will be years before it is completely out of the patient’s system. Thus, the necessary bone growth needed for advanced stage osteoporosis patients may not be possible if they have taken bisphosphonates.
Have you or anyone you know experienced side effects from Fosamax? Please share your experiences!