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If I am a woman with a diagnosis of osteoporosis, and am taking a bisphosphonate medication like Fosamax (alendronate) or Actonel (risedronate), should I stop taking it after five years?


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MedHead Message:

Treatment for osteoporosis with these medications should last for five years. If you take these medication for healthy bones, the risk of developing other types of fractures, such as atypical femur fracture, increases after about five years of use. Drug holidays are suggested to avoid this phenomenon. The length of drug holidays are debated even now.


1. https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/clinical-recommendations/all/osteoporosis-cpg.html 2. Brittany Bindon, William Adams, Neelam Balasubramanian, Jasmin Sandhu, and Pauline Camacho, OSTEOPOROTIC FRACTURES DURING BISPHOSPHONATE DRUG HOLIDAY. Endocrine Practice 2018 24:2, 163-169


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