Background: Bisphosphonates are used to fight osteoporosis and for treating malignancies. In 2003, the first case reports appeared that described bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (BONJ). The aim of this study was to assess patient awareness of the adverse effects of bisphosphonates in order to improve cooperation among doctors and between doctors and patients. Methods: Patients with symptoms of osteoporosis, prostate cancer, or breast cancer were surveyed to determine their knowledge of bisphosphonates. The questionnaire comprised 12 questions that covered sociographic data, kind of medication, level of information, and side effects experienced. Out of 142 patients contacted, 55 participated in the study. Results: 62% of patients received most of their knowledge about the prescribed drug from the package insert. Despite knowledge that the patient was under treatment with bisphosphonates, 80% of dental treatments were continued without modifications. Only 32% of patients that received intravenous bisphosphonate treatment were aware of the possible risks of developing BONJ. Conclusion: The level of information is poor concerning the side effects of bisphosphonates, particularly the risk of BONJ. Clinicians should aim to sensitize the relevant people about the risks before treatment. © 2011 European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery.
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