The Function of Bisphosphonates Drugs

A look at the function of Bisphosphonate drugs, and discussion of causes to side effects.

The function of Bisphosphonate drugs is to suppress bone turnover. So what does that mean? Bone acts as a battery of the body. The energy that this battery stores is calcium. Calcium is the most important mineral that the body has, as every nervous system action, muscular action, and heartbeat requires it.


So how does this battery work?

Collection of calcium:

bisphosphonate drugs have side effects

A stark contrast to pharmaceutical advertising. Become educated on both the positives and negatives when making a decision to take any drug. Photo Credit: Fosamax Injury Lawsuit Center

The level of calcium stored in the bone based on the force/loads that are put on the bone, the more a bone is loaded, the more calcium is retained. As calcium comes into the body it has the chance to be retained in the bone mass, or not based on the force/loading levels placed on the bone. For this reason, runners have greater bone density than cyclists do. The runner puts greater force/loading on the bone because of impact as in the act of impact levels of loading can be between 1.3 and 3 times bodyweight. As loading exceeds multiples of bodyweight, the osteogenic process can initiate.

Use of Calcium:

The discussion this mineral generally revolves around bone and bone density, however all systems of the body require it to function. Every time you blink, every time your heartbeats, every time you break your skin and require blood clotting, and every single active or passive action of the central nervous system, calcium is required. All systems of the body need it, therefore the metabolization of bone mass is required for all systems to function properly. In an event such as a blood clot where more calcium may be needed than is available in the bloodstream, calcium is released from bone mass. If availability of this mineral is compromised, many systems can suffer.

Bisphosphonate Drugs

When an individual has osteoporosis, or lower bone mass density, Bisphosphonate drugs are often prescribed. The mechanism of action that this classification of drugs takes is one of suppression of a natural process. The bisphosphonate, when ingested, binds to calcium ions stopping the enzyme activity that initiates bone breakdown. Some researchers argue that this process of limiting enzyme activity on the surface of bone is the source of the side effects of bisphosphonate drugs. When calcium is needed by other systems of the body, normal bone metabolism has limits on function. This can leave other critical processes starving for calcium thereby suffering. As fracture rates are monitored with osteoporotic patients, more is known regarding the side effects of bisphosphonate use with fracture recovery. Research from the Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research in 2004 suggests that even the bone matrix synthesis, growth of new bone on the inside of the bone, is limited/diminished from bisphosphonate use. Before considering one of the drugs in this classification, ask your physician about the potential side effects.



Clarita, V. Odvina, J. Zerwekh, D. Rao, S. Maalouf, M. Gottschalk, F. and Pak, C. (2004). Severely Suppressed Bone Turnover: A Potential  Complication of Alendronate Therapy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. doi:10.1210/jc.2004-0952,

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