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What are bisphosphonates and why are they prescribed?

Bisphosphonates are a group of drugs that work by slowing bone loss. They reduce the risk of hip and spine fractures. Bone renewal is a slow process, but in many people an increase in bone density can be measured over five years of treatment.

Bisphosphonates can be taken by mouth (orally), through a drip (intravenous infusion) or by injection.

It's important to continue treatment as your doctor advises – even though you won't be able to feel whether it's working.

Because longer-term treatment can sometimes have side-effects your doctor may suggest a break from treatment after 3–5 years. The benefits of treatment last a long time though, so there's no need to worry that these will be lost if your doctor does suggest a 'treatment holiday'.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
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