Osteoporosis International

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1353–1362 | Cite as

Association of low-energy femoral fractures with prolonged bisphosphonate use: a case control study

  • B. A. Lenart
  • A. S. Neviaser
  • S. Lyman
  • C. C. Chang
  • F. Edobor-Osula
  • B. Steele
  • M. C. H. van der Meulen
  • D. G. Lorich
  • J. M. Lane
Original Article



Recent evidence has linked long-term bisphosphonate use with insufficiency fractures of the femur in postmenopausal women. In this case–control study, we have identified a significant association between a unique fracture of the femoral shaft, a transverse fracture in an area of thickened cortices, and long-term bisphosphonate use. Further studies are warranted.


Although clinical trials confirm the anti-fracture efficacy of bisphosphonates over 3–5 years, the long-term effects of bisphosphonate use on bone metabolism are unknown. Femoral insufficiency factures in patients on prolonged treatment have been reported.


We performed a retrospective case–control study of postmenopausal women who presented with low-energy femoral fractures from 2000 to 2007. Forty-one subtrochanteric and femoral shaft fracture cases were identified and matched by age, race, and body mass index to one intertrochanteric and femoral neck fracture each.


Bisphosphonate use was observed in 15 of the 41 subtrochanteric/shaft cases, compared to nine of the 82 intertrochanteric/femoral neck controls (Mantel–Haenszel odds ratio (OR), 4.44 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.77–11.35]; P = 0.002). A common X-ray pattern was identified in ten of the 15 subtrochanteric/shaft cases on a bisphosphonate. This X-ray pattern was highly associated with bisphosphonate use (OR, 15.33 [95% CI 3.06–76.90]; P < 0.001). Duration of bisphosphonate use was longer in subtrochanteric/shaft cases compared to both hip fracture controls groups (P = 0.001).


We found a significantly greater proportion of patients with subtrochanteric/shaft fractures to be on long-term bisphosphonates than intertrochanteric/femoral neck fractures. Bisphosphonate use was highly associated with a unique X-ray pattern. Further studies are warranted.


Bisphosphonate Femoral shaft Hip fracture Low energy Osteoporosis Subtrochanteric 



Rose Mary Fisher and the entire Metabolic Bone Disease Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery are acknowledged. Thanks are also due to Dr. Margaret Peterson for statistical expertise and Drs. Felicia Cosman and Richard S. Bockman for their critical review of the manuscript and expert advice.


This study was supported by The Charles Cohn Foundation, Inc. and NIH Grant R01-ARO41325 “FT-IR Microscopy of Mineral Structure in Osteoporosis.”

Conflicts of interest

Joseph M. Lane has been on speaker’s bureau for Eli Lilly, Proctor and Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, and Roche Pharmaceuticals.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. A. Lenart
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. S. Neviaser
    • 1
    • 3
  • S. Lyman
    • 5
  • C. C. Chang
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Edobor-Osula
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Steele
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. C. H. van der Meulen
    • 4
  • D. G. Lorich
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. M. Lane
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Hospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Weill Medical CollegeCornell UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Medical Orthopedic Trauma ServiceNewYork Presbyterian Hospital–Weill Cornell Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Mechanical & Aerospace EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  5. 5.Methodology & Statistics CoreHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA

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