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Friday, February 04, 2011 Kathaleen Saunders, Community Member, asks

Q: I have read that you should take a break from any osteoprosis medicine. I have taken Actonel for 10 years. Should I refrain from taking it this next year and then go back to it? I am also a smoker.

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Answers (1)
Pam Flores, Health Guide
2/ 5/11 4:52pm

Hi Kathaleen, welcome...The current thinking is you should consider a drug holiday after 5 years of bisphosphonate use.  However, if you are at high-risk for fracture, discuss this with your Dr. to find out what the risk versus benefit ratio is for you.  Here's an article on drug holidays and the risk of femur fracture with long-term bishphosphonate use.  Also read the FDA warning on long-term bisphosphonate use as well


It is very important to stop smoking.  Smoking causes more bone loss, and you are only making the situation worse.  I realize this is hard to do and you will need help, so speak with your Dr. about smoking cessation programs and treatment.


Good luck to you!

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By Kathaleen Saunders, Community Member— Last Modified: 02/05/11, First Published: 02/04/11