bis·​phos·​pho·​nate | \ˌbis-ˈfäs-fə-ˌnāt \

Definition of bisphosphonate 

: any of a group of drugs that slow the breakdown of bone by osteoclasts

Examples of bisphosphonate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Two rare problems are tied to bisphosphonates — deterioration of the jawbone and unusual leg fractures. Marilynn Marchione, The Seattle Times, "Study suggests more older women may benefit from bone drugs," 1 Oct. 2018 Unfortunately, bisphosphonates also have the possibility of the very rare side effects of atypical fractures and jaw osteonecrosis. Farah Naz Khan, Vox, "Doctors are blasé about bone health and it’s leading to more broken bones in the elderly," 30 July 2018 Moreover, patients who take them are usually switched over to bisphosphonates after 18 to 24 months to maintain bone density. Scientific American, "Readers Respond to the March 2018 Issue," 13 Mar. 2018 Some work by a different mechanism than the bisphosphonates and have a different profile of side effects. Scientific American, "Readers Respond to the March 2018 Issue," 13 Mar. 2018 Fosamax was the first of several bisphosphonate drugs that work by slowing the turnover of bone cells. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Osteoporosis: An Avoidable Crisis," 13 Mar. 2018 Use of oral bisphosphonates fell by 50 percent between 2008 and 2012. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Osteoporosis: An Avoidable Crisis," 13 Mar. 2018 Then in the early 2000s, alarming news reports began to appear linking extended use of bisphosphonates to two uncommon bone problems: a very rare fracture of the femur and an even rarer condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Jane E. Brody, New York Times, "A Perfect Storm for Broken Bones," 12 Feb. 2018 High doses from supplements may have unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps, and may prevent some drugs (such as certain antibiotics and bisphosphonates) from doing their jobs. Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "Magnesium is essential to your health, but many people don’t get enough of it," 10 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bisphosphonate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bisphosphonate

1974, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bisphosphonate

bis + phosphonic acid (an acid obtained from phosphine) + -ate entry 1

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19 Nov 2018

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The first known use of bisphosphonate was in 1974

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bis·​phos·​pho·​nate | \ˌbis-ˈfäs-fə-ˌnāt\

Medical Definition of bisphosphonate 

: any of a group of drugs (such as alendronate or etidronate) that slow the breakdown of bone by osteoclasts … among the pharmacological approaches for treating osteoporosis, use of bisphosphonates increases bone mineral density and reduces the risk of vertebral fractures.— Charles Marwick, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 26 Apr. 2000

called also diphosphonate

Note: Bisphonates

are analogs of pyrophosphate and contain two phosphate groups attached to a central carbon atom that replaces the oxygen atom in pyrophosphate.

Comments on bisphosphonate

What made you want to look up bisphosphonate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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