2016 Volume 39 Issue 9 Pages 1549-1554
Bisphosphonate (BP)-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) can occur when enhanced bone-resorptive diseases are treated with nitrogen-containing BPs (N-BPs). Having previously found, in mice, that the non-N-BP etidronate can (i) reduce the inflammatory/necrotic effects of N-BPs by inhibiting their intracellular entry and (ii) antagonize the binding of N-BPs to bone hydroxyapatite, we hypothesized that etidronate-replacement therapy (Eti-RT) might be useful for patients with, or at risk of, BRONJ. In the present study we examined this hypothesis. In each of 25 patients receiving N-BP treatment, the N-BP was discontinued when BRONJ was suspected and/or diagnosed. After consultation with the physician-in-charge and with the patient’s informed consent, Eti-RT was instituted in one group according to its standard oral prescription. We retrospectively compared this Eti-RT group (11 patients) with a non-Eti-RT group (14 patients). The Eti-RT group (6 oral N-BP patients and 5 intravenous N-BP patients) and the non-Eti-RT group (5 oral N-BP patients and 9 intravenous N-BP patients) were all stage 2–3 BRONJ. Both in oral and intravenous N-BP patients (particularly in the former patients), Eti-RT promoted or tended to promote the separation and removal of sequestra and thereby promoted the recovery of soft-tissues, allowing them to cover the exposed jawbone. These results suggest that Eti-RT may be an effective choice for BRONJ caused by either oral or intravenous N-BPs and for BRONJ prevention, while retaining a level of anti-bone-resorption. Eti-RT may also be effective at preventing BRONJ in N-BP-treated patients at risk of BRONJ. However, prospective trials are still required.