‘Saving bones without risking brain’ published in Osteoporosis International

A team from CaHRU, the School of Pharmacy and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lincoln in collaboration with the Universities of Surrey and Oxford, have published an observational study investigating potential risks of stroke when using bisphosphonate drugs, widely used for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, and found them not to be associated with increased risk of stroke.

The study led by Dr Zahid Asghar, senior lecturer in CaHRU and an expert in mathematical modelling, titled ‘Saving bones without risking brain—bisphosphonates and risk of stroke: matched case-control study’ was published in the journal Osteoporosis International. Co-authors included Ana Godoy Caballero, Steve McKay, Paul Grassby and Niro Siriwardena from the University of Lincoln, Sameera Pathirannehelage and John Williams from University of Surrey and Simon de Lusignan who has moved to Oxford University. Previous studies had shown conflicting evidence on the link between bisphosphonates and stroke, so the team investigated the association between bisphosphonate treatment and the risk of stroke using a large routine clinical dataset housed at the Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre.

The study used a matched nested case-control study design looking at adults who had a stroke and comparing those who had or had not taken different bisphosphonate drugs previously, while adjusting for other potential causes of stroke including disease risk groups, cardiovascular risk factors, other drugs, smoking status, alcohol consumption, ethnicity, fracture and socioeconomic status. The analysis showed that bisphosphonates were not associated with stroke. This finding will be reassuring for people with osteoporosis or fracture who are recommended to take these drugs long-term.

Prof Niro Siriwardena

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