"We need to make sure that all of the medications are safe," said Puzas. "But in my opinion and the results of the panel suggest that, the benefit of these medications greatly outweigh the risk."
Burr agreed: "Even though they may be associated with these rare fractures, they prevent other types of fractures."
While some physicians use bone density scans to help drive their decisions, doctors generally prescribe them to women who are at an increased risk for either osteoporosis or fractures from osteoporosis they already have.
"These drugs prevent many more fractures than they possibly create," said Burr.
Shane said she continues to prescribe bisphosphonates to her patients, and said each patient should be evaluated as an individual case. However, Shane said, patients taking bisphosphonates should follow up with their doctor if they have warning signs like hip, thigh or groin pain.
"I think we have to be responsible in acknowledging the pain and suffering people went through who have the rare fractures," she said, "but there's also pain in the more common fractures that these drugs help."