In a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, results indicated that women taking Bisphosphonates (FOSAMAX/BONIVA/ACTONE) for the first time had a 45 percent increased risk of eye disorders uvelitis and scleritis within 30 to 90 days from initiation of the product’s use.
While researchers believe that the disorders may be reversed if the user receives prompt medical attention and is taken off the medication, blindness has occurred in some instances. Uveitis is swelling and irritation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye (uvea), which provides most of the blood supply to the retina. Scleritis is an inflammation of the sclera (the white outer wall of the eye). Both of these conditions can present as blurred vision, eye pain and sensitivity to light.
In their report, researchers highlighted that “’the risk of inflammatory ocular adverse events, including scleritis and uvelitis, is not highlighted in most package inserts included with oral bisphosphonates.” In addition, the researchers pointed out that their “study highlight[ed] the need for clinicians to inform their patients about the signs and symptoms of scleritis and uveitis, so that prompt treatment may be sought and further complications averted. Any first time user of a bisphosphonate with sudden onset of a vision disturbance is advised to contact their physician for follow up.