Millions of people take bisphosphonate drugs to prevent bone loss, but do they know the risks. These medications are commonly used to treat osteoporosis, but can also cause pain, and specifically a condition called Bisphosphonate Induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BIONJ). People who take a bisphosphonate need to know what BIONJ is, which drugs are most likely to cause it, who is at risk, and what to do about these risks.
What is Bisphosphonate Induced Osteonecrosis of the Bone (BIONJ)? Osteonecrosis of the bone is defined as the "presence of exposed bone in the maxillofacial (jaw) region that does not heal within 8 weeks after identification by a health care provider" according to the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research. This particular type of osteonecrosis is caused by the bisphosphonate drugs, hence the name "Bisphosphonate Induced". The common symptoms include jaw pain, swelling, infection, loosening of the teeth and drainage. Of course, seeing bone is defi...
Definition A broken jaw is a break in the jaw bone. A dislocated jaw means the lower part of the jaw has moved out of its normal position at one or both joints where the jaw bone connects to the skull (temporomandibular joints). Alternative Names Dislocated jaw; Fractured jaw; Broken jaw; TMJ dislocation Considerations A broken or dislocated jaw usually heals completely after treatment. However, the jaw may become dislocated again in the future. Complications may include: Airway blockage Bleeding Breathing blood or food into the lungs Difficulty eating (temporary) Difficulty talking (temporary) Infection of the jaw or face Jaw joint ( TMJ ) pain and other problems Problems aligning the teeth Causes The most common cause of a broken or dislocated jaw is injury to the face. This may be due to: Assault Industrial accident Motor vehicle accident Recreational or sports injury
It's great to see that The New York Academy of Sciences is holding a seminar on osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful disease in the teeth and gums that has been linked to bisphosphonate use. While the illness has been especially associated with intravenous bisphosphonates most often used for cancer patients, the widespread use of oral bisphosphonates to combat osteoporosis and osteopenia makes this a relevant issue for the bone loss community as well. The info is at http://www.nyas.org/events/eventDetail.asp?eventID=8739&date=5%2F19%2F2007+8%3A30%3A00+AM and I was particularly glad that it says "all healthcare professionals are urged to attend." It is important to learn all we can about the risks (as well as advantages) of any medication we take, and I hope that this meeting keeps the spotlight on this issue and encourages those researching this rare but dangerous side effect of bisphosphonate medication.
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