Although a variety of medications are effective for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, there is concern that long-term use may incur side effects. Consequently, some have proposed discontinuing or temporarily suspending treatment after a defined period of time. As the benefits of fracture risk reduction may recede during this "drug holiday", the clinician may be faced with deciding when to resume therapy (and with which agent) while avoiding the possible cumulative risk of side effects. This article summarizes data regarding length of treatment and the effects of cessation of treatment on bone density, bone turnover markers, and fracture risk.
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