Nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BPs) such as alendronate are linked with lower risks of pneumonia and of dying from pneumonia, according to the research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
The study included 4,041 patients with hip fractures who received N-BPs and 11,802 who did not. Over a median follow-up time of 2.7 years, N-BPs were associated with a 24 per cent lower risk of pneumonia compared with no treatment (69 vs 90 cases per 1,000 people per year).
A similar association was observed with pneumonia mortality, with a 35 per cent lower risk associated with N-BPs (23 vs 35 per 1,000 patients per year for N-BP and non-N-BP users, respectively).
The study authors say N-BPs may confer additional protection against pneumonia to compensate for stock shortages and low acceptance of vaccine.
“Drug repositioning of N-BPs as a pneumonia-prevention drug, especially in high-risk groups (e.g, patients with osteoporosis), may be of public health importance,” they say. “The multiple benefits of using N-BPs in hip fracture patients may help to promote the use of these medications, especially because anti-osteoporosis medications are underutilised.”