Osteoporosis and bisphosphonates-related osteonecrosis of the jaw: Not just a sporadic coincidence - A multi-centre study

Sven Otto, Mario Hakim Abu-Id, Stefano Fedele, Patrick H. Warnke, Stephan T. Becker, Andreas Kolk, Thomas Mücke, Gerson Mast, Robert Köhnke, Elias Volkmer, Florian Haasters, Olivier Lieger, Tateyuki Iizuka, Stephen Porter, Giuseppina Campisi, Giuseppe Colella, Oliver Ploder, Andreas Neff, Jörg Wiltfang, Michael EhrenfeldThomas Kreusch, Klaus Dietrich Wolff, Stephen R. Stürzenbaum, Matthias Schieker, Christoph Pautke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Introduction: Bisphosphonates (BPs) are powerful drugs that inhibit bone metabolism. Adverse side effects are rare but potentially severe such as bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ). To date, research has primarily focused on the development and progression of BRONJ in cancer patients with bone metastasis, who have received high dosages of BPs intravenously. However, a potential dilemma may arise from a far larger cohort, namely the millions of osteoporosis patients on long-term oral BP therapy. Patients and methods: This current study assessed 470 cases of BRONJ diagnosed between 2004 and 2008 at eleven different European clinical centres and has resulted in the identification of a considerable cohort of osteoporosis patients suffering from BRONJ. Each patient was clinically examined and a detailed medical history was raised. Results: In total, 37/470 cases (7.8%) were associated with oral BP therapy due to osteoporosis. The majority (57%) of affected individuals did not have any risk factors for BRONJ as defined by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The average duration of BP intake of patients without risk factors was longer and the respective patients were older compared to patients with risk factors, but no statistical significant difference was found. In 78% of patients the duration of oral BP therapy exceeded 3 years prior to BRONJ diagnosis. Discussion: The results from this study suggest that the relative frequency of osteoporosis patients on oral BPs suffering from BRONJ is higher than previously reported. There is an urgent need to substantiate epidemiological characteristics of BRONJ in large cohorts of individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Bisphosphonate
  • Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw
  • Necrosis
  • ONJ
  • Oral
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Osteoporosis


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