Esophageal Cancer Risk May Double with Long Term Use of Oral Bisphosphonates

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A new study published online in the British Medical Journal
concluded that people who take oral bisphosphonates over 5 years for bone disease such as osteoporosis or fracture prevention may have double the risk of developing esophageal cancer over those who do not. Data from the UK General Practice Research Data which includes around 6 million people were used to select a sample. Men and women over 40 years of age were the focus and 2,954 subjects with esophageal cancer, 2,018 with stomach cancer, and 10,641 with colorectal cancer diagnosed between 1995 and 2005 were used. Each subject was compared with 5 controls that were matched for age, gender, general practice and observation period. They found that subjects with 10 or more prescriptions, or with prescriptions for over 5 years had about double the risk of esophageal cancer compared with subjects who did not have bisphosphonate prescriptions and there was no increase for stomach or bowel cancer.

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