, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 326-331

The acute-phase response after bisphosphonate administration

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Summary

In patients who have never previously received bisphosphonate therapy, the intravenous administration of 4-amino-1-hydroxybuthilidene-1,1-bisphosphonate (AHButBP), 3-amino-1-hydroxypropylidene-1,1-bisphosphonate (AHPrBP), or 6-amino-1-hydroxyhexylidene-1,1-bisphosphonate (AHHexBP) induced an acute-phase response (APR) irrespective of the underlying disease, manifested by a fall in circulating lymphocyte number and serum zinc concentration and in a rise in C-reactive protein (CRP); a febrile reaction occurred in 30% of the patients. The APR was maximally expressed within 28–36 hours of i.v. administration of the bisphosphonates and disappeared 2–3 days later despite continuous treatment. These effects were dose dependent and the lowest doses necessary for an APR were 10 mg of AHButBP and AHPrBP and 75 mg of AHHexBP. Doses up to 1,000 mg/day i.v. of dichloromethanebisphosphonate (Cl2MBP) were devoid of these side effects. In patients treated with either a single i.v. dose of amino-bisphosphonates which resulted in an APR or with a suboptimal dose, a subsequent challenge 12–160 days later of the high dose failed to cause a rise in CRP or a fall in the lymphocyte count. The desensitization to AHButBP or AHPrBP was also seen following pretreatment with Cl2MBP. These findings suggest that bisphosphonates interact with macrophage-like cells resident in the skeleton and stimulate interleukin-1 release which is responsible for the appearance of the APR. At the same time, however, the bisphosphonates render these cells insensitive to further stimulation for several months. This latter observation might be relevant to the long-lasting suppression of bone resorption observed after bisphosphonate therapy.