Bisphosphonates are frequently used drugs in the adjuvant therapy of bone metastases and tumour-induced hypercalcaemia, but also for osteoporosis or Pagets disease. Several publications within the last three years considered osteonecrosis of the jaws to be connected with bisphosphonate therapy. Until today possible treatment strategies contain antibiotics, hyperbaric therapy and operative treatment. The tendency of healing however seems to be extremely poor. All clinicians should be aware of this new kind of side effect of bisphosphonate therapy. 14 patients with this new kind of osteonecrosis were admitted to the department of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery of the University Hospital of Zurich. 8 men and 6 women all received bisphosphonates for cancer therapy. A complete analysis of patients’ data was performed. Of 14 patients in 7 the underlying disease disease was multiple myeloma. In one patient it was prostate cancer and in all female patients it was breast cancer. All of them had prior dental treatment and showed inflammatory signs and bacterial colonisation with localisation in the upper or lower jaw or in both. The infectious part of the bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis (ONJ) is considered to be more important than thought before. We presume that antimicrobial treatment is of utmost importance in the treatment of this kind of osteonecrosis. Patients with current or previous bisphosphonate therapy should be treated multidisciplinary to assure ideal prevention and treatment.

Dannemann, Zwahlen, Grätz, , , , , , (2006). Clinical experiences with bisphopsphonate induced osteochemonecrosis of the jaws. Swiss medical weekly, 2006 Aug;136(31-32):504-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16947089