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Monday, September 19, 2011

Bisphosphonates and me

You may recall in my first blog post that Dr. Richardson has suggested that I take Zometa, which is a bisphosphonate, to help build my bones back up, having been weakened somewhat by the MM.  Zometa is his metaphorical Coast Guard drug, which will help protect the Homeland, while the trio of clinical trial drugs (Army, Air Force, and Navy) are fighting off the foreign invasion of nasty old myeloma cells.

One tiny little eensy weensy problem with bisphosphonates is that they can cause a rare but serious side effect called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).  In order to minimize the potential of this, one should not undergo any serious dental work (root canals, extractions, etc.) while taking the drug.  So I went to the dentist for a checkup.  Unfortunately, my dental history is far from stellar.  My last visit to the dentist was six years ago to get a root canal.  It now appears that I have another seriously decayed tooth (supporting a bridge) which may either need a root canal or have to be extracted.  And the root canal I had in 2005 may need more work.  (Ask me why I'm going back to the same guy.)  Anyway, I have an appointment for next week to sort this all out.

I was somewhat curious about this ONJ, so I went online to check it out.  Here are some of the pictures I ran across: