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Int J Womens Health. 2012;4:455-69. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S24783. Epub 2012 Sep 3.

Clinical role of bisphosphonate therapy.

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Osteoporosis Screening Unit, Guy's Hospital, London, UK ; Department of Chemical Pathology, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.


Bisphosphonates (BPs) are synthetic analogues of pyrophosphate. They inhibit bone resorption and are therefore widely used in disorders where there are increases or disruptions in bone resorption. This includes postmenopausal osteoporosis, glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, Paget's disease of bone, and malignancy-related bone loss. To best understand the clinical application of BPs, an understanding of their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is important. This review describes the structure, pharmacology and mode of action of BPs, focusing on their role in clinical practice. Controversies and side effects surrounding their use will also be discussed.


Paget’s disease of bone; bone resorption; glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis; malignancy-related bone loss; postmenopausal osteoporosis; pyrophosphate

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