BACKGROUND: Bisphosphonates are widely used to prevent osteoporotic fractures. Some severe musculoskeletal reactions have been described with this medication; among them, some cases of carpal tunnel syndrome. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore whether bisphosphonates may be associated with this syndrome.<br /><br />METHODS: A cohort study was conducted to compare exposed to unexposed women; the exposed group was that composed of women having received at least one prescription of an oral bisphosphonate. For the purpose, we used information from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database. The outcome of interest was defined as those women diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. A survival analysis was performed; the Cox proportional hazard model was used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals, and to adjust for identified confounding variables.<br /><br />RESULTS: Out of a sample of 59,475 women older than 51 years, 19,825 were treated with bisphosphonates during the period studied. No differences in age distribution or mean follow-up time were observed between the two groups in comparison. Overall, there were 572 women diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, 242 (1.2%) in the group exposed to bisphosphonates, and 330 (0.8%) in the unexposed. An adjusted hazard ratio of developing carpal tunnel syndrome of 1.38 (95%CI, 1.15-1.64) was found for women exposed to bisphosphonates; no significant changes in the hazard ratios were found when considering different levels of bisphosphonate exposure.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: An increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with the use of bisphosphonates in postmenopausal women.
Carvajal, A., Martín Arias, L. H., Sáinz, M., Escudero, A., Fierro, I., Sauzet, O., … Molokhia, M. (2016). Carpal tunnel syndrome associated with oral bisphosphonates. A population-based cohort study. PLoS ONE, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0146772