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Pharmacology Supporting Your Practice

What do you really need to know about bisphosphonates?


Once again, I had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Mark Donaldson, expert pharmacologist and Senior Executive Director at Vizient Pharmacy Advisory Solutions. As we reach five decades of clinical use of bisphosphonates, and coinciding with the publication of a recent article by Dr. Mark Donaldson and his colleague Dr. Jason Goodchild, we thought it pertinent to bring you the latest related research and their use in dentistry.

Dr. Mark Donaldson is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Montana in Missoula, Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Dentistry at the Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, Oregon and Adjunct Professor, in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia. He has a special interest in dental pharmacology and has lectured internationally to both dental and medical practitioners. He has spent the last 20 years focusing on dental pharmacology and dental therapeutics, and is a leader in the field.

As always, we hope that you benefit from the information that we share with you. We also welcome your feedback, suggestions, and questions at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca or if you prefer to speak with us in person, call us at our toll-free number 1-855-716-2747.

Until next time!

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager


  • Despite being synthesized in the late 1800s, bisphosphonates have only been used clinically for the last 5 decades. In fact, on the 50th anniversary of the first clinical use of a bisphosphonate (1968, etidronate disodium), it is interesting to remember that the origin of bisphosphonates stems from dental research.
  • On the dental side, bisphosphonates remain part of the consciousness of oral healthcare providers not because of their success in medicine but because of infamous side effects and the potential for morbidity.
  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons consistently ranks bisphosphonates as the recommended pharmacologic agents to treat osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk, assigning them an “A” level of evidence since there is “convincing evidence of antifracture efficacy.”
  • On balance, the benefits of bisphosphonate therapy in most cases outweigh the relatively low risk of adverse effects.

Read and download the article: What do you really need to know about bisphosphonates? (PDF)


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