Many people ask me when Fosamax, Boniva or Actonel are a good idea in the fight against osteoporosis. Our listeners and patients already know that we are not fans of this class of medication called bisphosphonates.
In one of the main studies published on Fosamax, researchers tout a 56% decrease in the risk of fracture in the group given Fosamax compared to those on a placebo. This sounds like a significant finding, however, a closer evaluation of this study tells a slightly different story. According to the study, 99.8% of the Fosamax treatment group did not suffer a fracture. That sounds wonderful. However, when you look at the group given an inactive placebo 99.5% of them did not suffer a fracture. That means the actual difference between the group was just 0.3%. This equates to a 56% decrease in relative risk which is an arbitrary number designed to make the results look more significant than they are. In other words, you would have to treat 81 women for 4.2 years at a cost of over $300,000 in order to prevent 1 fracture! That means 80 out of 81 women will gain NO BENEFIT from the medication! In my opinion, that is hardly worth the risk.
Now for you men and women who have been diagnosed with osteopenia, or pre-osteoporosis. How did you do in the Fosamax study? Well, according to this research, the subgroup with osteopenia suffered an INCREASE in fracture risk. In fact, there was an 84% increase in risk of hip fracture and a 50% increase in risk of wrist fracture. This is exactly why I think prescribing these medications to women with osteopenia should be called malpractice.
It makes much more sense to work to build new, healthy, pliable bone rather than taking a pill that is designed to keep around old, brittle, damaged bone. See our osteoporosis protocol in the Health Issues section of our website for more details about how to achieve stronger bones by purely natural means.