Canadian consensus practice guidelines for bisphosphonate associated osteonecrosis of the jaw

Aliya A. Khan, George K.B. Sándor, Edward Dore, Archibald D. Morrison, Mazen Alsahli, Faizan Amin, Edmund Peters, David A. Hanley, Sultan R. Chaudry, David W. Dempster, Francis H. Glorieux, Alan J. Neville, Reena M. Talwar, Cameron M. Clokie, Majd Al Mardini, Terri Paul, Sundeep Khosla, Robert G. Josse, Susan Sutherland, David K. LamRobert P. Carmichael, Nick Blanas, David Kendler, Steven Petak, Louis Georges St.-Marie, Jacques Brown, A. Wayne Evans, Lorena Rios, Juliet E. Compston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Objective. Following publication of the first reports of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) in patients receiving bisphosphonates in 2003, a call for national multidisciplinary guidelines based upon a systematic review of the current evidence was made by the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (CAOMS) in association with national and international societies concerned with ONJ. The purpose of the guidelines is to provide recommendations regarding diagnosis, identification of at-risk patients, and prevention and management strategies, based on current evidence and consensus. These guidelines were developed for medical and dental practitioners as well as for oral pathologists and related specialists. Methods. The multidisciplinary task force established by the CAOMS reviewed all relevant areas of research relating to ONJ associated with bisphosphonate use and completed a systematic review of current literature. These evidence-based guidelines were developed utilizing a structured development methodology. A modified Delphi consensus process enabled consensus among the multidisciplinary task force members. These guidelines have since been reviewed by external experts and endorsed by national and international medical, dental, oral surgery, and oral pathology societies. Results. Recommendations regarding diagnosis, prevention, and management of ONJ were made following analysis of all current data pertaining to this condition. ONJ has many etiologic factors including head and neck irradiation, trauma, periodontal disease, local malignancy, chemotherapy, and glucocorticoid therapy. High-dose intravenous bisphosphonates have been identified as a risk factor for ONJ in the oncology patient population. Low-dose bisphosphonate use in patients with osteoporosis or other metabolic bone disease has not been causally linked to the development of ONJ. Prevention, staging, and treatment recommendations are based upon collective expert opinion and current data, which has been limited to case reports, case series, surveys, retrospective studies, and 2 prospective observational studies. Recommendations: In all oncology patients, a thorough dental examination including radiographs should be completed prior to the initiation of intravenous bisphosphonate therapy. In this population, any invasive dental procedure is ideally completed prior to the initiation of high-dose bisphosphonate therapy. Non-urgent procedures are preferably delayed for 3 to 6 months following interruption of bisphosphonate therapy. Osteoporosis patients receiving oral or intravenous bisphosphonates do not require a dental examination prior to initiating therapy in the presence of appropriate dental care and good oral hygiene. Stopping smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and maintaining good oral hygiene should be emphasized for all patients receiving bisphosphonate therapy. Individuals with established ONJ are most appropriately managed with supportive care including pain control, treatment of secondary infection, removal of necrotic debris, and mobile sequestrate. Aggressive debridement is contraindicated. Conclusion. Our multidisciplinary guidelines, which provide a rational evidence-based approach to the diagnosis, prevention, and management of bisphosphonate-associated ONJ in Canada, are based on the best available published data and the opinion of national and international experts involved in the prevention and management of ONJ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1391-1397
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Bisphosphonates
  • Consensus
  • Osteonecrosis of the jaw
  • Recommendations
  • Side effects guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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