People who take a common bone drug after joint replacement surgery are less likely to need a repeat operation, finds a new study published in BMJ.
While hip and knee replacements are cost-effective procedures, substantial numbers of patients require surgery within 10 years to replace the implant because of infection, wear, loosening, or other mechanical failures.
Oral bisphosphonates are used to prevent fractures and to treat common bone diseases like osteoporosis.
In the British study, patients were tracked for a maximum of 15 years after their joint replacement operation to calculate the rate of revision surgery.
Bisphosphonate users had a lower revision rate at five years than non-users. In fact, the drug doubled the life of the replacement joint.
Researchers suggest that the results could be due to bisphosphonate therapy suppressing the long term inflammatory response around the implant after surgery that often leads to bone loss and loosening of the implant.
Hip replacment is one of the most common surgeries in the U.S. with more than 193,000 performed each year.