A recent study found that nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BPs) such as alendronate, which are widely used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis, are linked with lower risks of pneumonia and of dying from pneumonia. The results are 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% lower risk of pneumonia compared with no treatment (69 versus 90 cases per 1,000 people per year).
A similar association was observed with pneumonia mortality, with a 35% lower risk associated with N-BPs (23 versus 35 per 1,000 patients per year for the N-BP and non-N-BP groups, respectively).
Results from previous animal studies indicate that N-BP treatment leads to a high concentration of N-BPs in the respiratory tract. "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.