Treatments in Endocrinology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 37–43 | Cite as

Gastrointestinal Adverse Effects of Bisphosphonates

Etiology, Incidence and Prevention
  • Frank L. Lanza
Review Article


The bisphosphonate class of drugs are now utilized extensively in the treatment of patients with osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. Gastrointestinal (GI) adverse effects, especially those associated with esophageal injury, have been of increasing concern to clinicians.

Studies in humans and animals have shown that the mucosal erosion and ulceration seen with bisphosphonates is a result of direct contact with these agents. Numerous endoscopic studies in healthy volunteers and postmenopausal women have also demonstrated the potential of bisphosphonates to cause stomach and duodenal ulcers. However, serious GI adverse events have not been noted in several large efficacy trials. Esophageal injury has for the most part been avoided by appropriate administration instructions, and gastroduodenal injury appears to be an acute phenomenon not associated with significant complications, except in certain high-risk situations, for example in the presence of existing distal esophageal disease or motility disorders, or with concurrent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or anticoagulants.

From the standpoint of GI safety, the bisphosphonates are well tolerated and not associated with serious adverse events.


Alendronate Risedronate Pamidronate Mucosal Injury Erosive Esophagitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank L. Lanza
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Section of GastroenterologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Houston Institute for Clinical ResearchHoustonUSA

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