Macular degeneration is a disease that affects the macula, or the center of the eye. It is the most common cause of blindness in people over age 55.
Bisphosphonates are a commonly used class of medications that are prescribed for osteoporosis.
Researchers looked at the relationship between bisphosphonate use and macular degeneration and published their findings in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.
The scientists studied the relationship in three ways: by comparing the number of macular degeneration cases with users of bisphosphonates as well as other drugs; by using a case/control study to compare macular degeneration subjects with control subjects who had a documented visit to an ophthalmologist but no diagnosis of macular degeneration; and by looking at cases of macular degeneration before and after bisphosphonate exposure.
They found that there was a 282 percent higher risk of macular degeneration in people who took Fosamax, and a 140 percent increase for those who took Actonel. Furthermore, there was an increased risk of macular degeneration the longer a bisphosphonate was taken.
Bisphosphonates work by poisoning the bone remodeling cells — called osteoclasts — that are responsible for removing old and injured bone.
They have never been shown to reduce fracture risk, and are associated with a host of adverse side effects, including atypical fractures. Now we can add macular degeneration to the list.
Osteoporosis is often caused by nutritional and hormonal imbalances. Correcting those imbalances can lead to healthier bones.
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