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Definition of Bisphosphonate

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Bisphosphonate: A class of drugs used to strengthen bone. Bisphosphonates are used to treat osteoporosis and the bone pain from diseases such as metastatic breast cancer, multiple myeloma, and Paget's disease. Bone is in a constant state of remodeling, whereby new bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts, while old bone is removed by cells called osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone removal (resorption) by the osteoclasts. The bisphosphonates include Fosamax (alendronate), Actonel (risedronate), Boniva (ibandronate), and Reclast (zoledronate).

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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