Association between bisphosphonate use and stroke risk: a meta-analysis

Shu Man Lin, Jhe Yi Lin, Yu Kang Tu, Chih Hsing Wu, Carol Chiung Hui Peng, Kashif M. Munir, Khulood Bukhari, Kory Jaggon, Yunting Fu, Ching Hui Loh, Huei Kai Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Summary: Previous studies have suggested that bisphosphonates may reduce stroke risk. This meta-analysis, which included 21 studies with 741,274 participants, revealed that bisphosphonates might be associated with lower stroke risk. However, evidence derived from randomized controlled trials identified no statistically significant association. Future high-quality studies are still required to determine causality. Purpose: Whether bisphosphonates may reduce the risk of stroke remains inconclusive. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the association between bisphosphonate use and the risk of stroke based on up-to-date evidence. Methods: We searched for studies evaluating the effects of bisphosphonate on the risk of stroke from inception until January 3, 2022, on PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Cochrane libraries and updated our search until August 22, 2022, using PubMed to identify any new potential published studies. Two or more reviewers independently screened articles, extracted data, and assessed the study quality. We retrieved the data to synthesize the pooled relative risk (RR) of stroke associated with bisphosphonate use compared with controls; random-effects models were used for meta-analysis. Results: A total of 21 studies (7 randomized controlled trials [RCTs] and 14 observational studies) involving 741,274 participants were included in our meta-analysis. Overall, bisphosphonate use was associated with a lower risk of stroke, but the result was only borderline significant (pooled RR = 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76–0.99, p = 0.048), and high between-study heterogeneity was found (I 2 = 83.7%). Subgroup analyses showed that the evidence derived from RCTs suggested no significant association between bisphosphonate use and stroke risk (pooled RR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.76–1.13, p = 0.462; I 2 = 13.4%). Conclusion: Our results suggest that bisphosphonate use is associated with a lower risk of stroke. However, the current evidence does not lead to a definite conclusion due to the borderline statistical significance and high between-study heterogeneity. Future studies, especially RCTs, are necessary to assess causality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1625-1636
Number of pages12
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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