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A new study suggests that women treated with Fosomax to
combat the symptoms of osteoporosis are twice as likely to develop a common
form of irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation than those who have
never taken the drug. Atrial fibrillation can lead to heart palpitations,
fainting, fatigue or congestive heart failure. Atrial fibrillation is
relatively common ailment affecting about one percent of Americans and becomes
increasingly common with age, with just under ten percent of those over the age
of 80 affected by the ailment. A new study headed by Dr. Susan Heckbert
suggests that Fosomax may drastically increase the chances of developing atrial


For her study, Dr.
Heckbert and her colleagues from Group Health analyzed 719 women with diagnosed
atrial fibrillation that began taking the drug between 2001 and 2004, and 966
women who were the same age but did not have the condition. According to the
findings, there was an 86 percent higher risk of newly found atrial
fibrillation in those who had used Fosamax compared with those who had never
used it.


Experts are not advising patients to stop taking the
medication, but merely advising patients and healthcare professionals of this
adverse effect. When weighing the benefits of a medication against the risks
many details must be taken into account. With Fosomax experts claim that for
most women at high risk for fractures related to osteoporosis, the benefits
will likely outweigh the risk of atrial fibrillation.

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