bis·​phos·​pho·​nate | \ ˌbis-ˈfäs-fə-ˌnāt How to pronounce bisphosphonate (audio) \

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 But who should use drugs called bisphosphonates is debatable. Marilynn Marchione, The Seattle Times, 1 Oct. 2018 Starting in 2008, Merck provided the FDA with periodic safety updates on studies linking long-term use of bisphosphonate (the major compound in Fosamax) with atypical femoral fractures and sought to revise its label. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 6 Jan. 2019 Two rare problems are tied to bisphosphonates — deterioration of the jawbone and unusual leg fractures. Marilynn Marchione, The Seattle Times, 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, 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, 13 Mar. 2018 Some work by a different mechanism than the bisphosphonates and have a different profile of side effects. Scientific American, 13 Mar. 2018 Fosamax was the first of several bisphosphonate drugs that work by slowing the turnover of bone cells. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, 13 Mar. 2018 Use of oral bisphosphonates fell by 50 percent between 2008 and 2012. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, 13 Mar. 2018 See More

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.

First Known Use of bisphosphonate

1961, 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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The first known use of bisphosphonate was in 1961

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Cite this Entry

“Bisphosphonate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bisphosphonate


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

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.


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