A recent study discovered that nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BPs) like alendronate, which are often used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis, are associated with decreased risks of pneumonia and death from pneumonia. The study’s findings have been published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
The research comprised 4,041 hip fracture patients who got N-BPs and 11,802 who did not. N-BPs were related with a 24% decreased incidence of pneumonia compared to no therapy across a median follow-up duration of 2.7 years (69 versus 90 cases per 1,000 people per year).
A similar link was seen with pneumonia mortality, with N-BPs being associated with a 35% decreased risk (23 versus 35 per 1,000 patients per year for the N-BP and non-N-BP groups, respectively).
Previous animal investigations show that N-BP therapy causes a high concentration of N-BPs in the respiratory system.
“Together with its anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory properties, this may explain why N-BPs were associated with reduced risk of pneumonia, as revealed in our study,” said senior author Ching-Lung Cheung, PhD, of The University of Hong Kong. He added that studying the potential of N-BPs for treating symptoms of COVID-19 may be warranted.