Video: Study: Bone-strengthening drugs could backfire

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    >> house tonight. thanks.

    >>> tonight a number of products, most which you have seen advertised are under close examination for some potentially cruel side effects . they are the class of drugs designed to strengthen bones, yet there is evidence in some cases they can actually have the opposite effect. what does this mean for those taking them? our report from our chief science correspondent robert bazell .

    >> reporter: fasomax, actonel is boniva are used to prevent bone loss in women. the drugs work well and can cut the rate of hip fractures . two small studies presented at a meeting of orthopedic surgeons suggest in a small portion of patients that use the drug for five years can increase the rate of a rare type of hip fracture .

    >> a small subpopulation will get a fracture from just walking across the street. it's a brittle bone disease .

    >> reporter: the drugs are very popular with sales exceeding $3.5 billion a year. according to the research firm ims health . the fda says it is looking at the effects of the drugs, but advises the people taking them to not stop unless a doctor advises it. many osteoporosis experts echo the sentiment.

    >> the data asession risks recently is still very, very preliminary, and a lot of other data, long-term data suggest these drugs are quite safe in the overwhelming majority of people who take them.

    >> reporter: all the experts agree there is not a suggestion of risk from hip fracture for people who take the drugs five years or less. a lot more studies need to be done.

    >> thanks to bob bazell in our new york studios tonight.

    >>> there was a gripping moment

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