Immune-mediated syndromes following intravenous bisphosphonate therapy

Noa Markovits*, Ronen Loebstein, Ilan Bank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: Intravenous (IV) infusion of aminobisphosphonates (ABP) induces cytokine release by peripheral blood Vγ9δ2 T cells, resulting in an immediate short-term inflammatory response in up to 50% of patients. We evaluated possible long-term pro-inflammatory effects of IV ABP. Methods: Retrospective case-series study from one rheumatology specialist’s clinic. 2261 electronic charts were reviewed for administration of ‘zoledronate’ or different brand names of zoledronic acid, and relevant clinical data was retrieved for patients who had received the infusion. Results: Thirteen patients had recieved zoledronate. In six, new-onset or exacerbation of a previous inflammatory/autoimmune disorder was diagnosed within 3 months following infusion. Of these, one patient developed new-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA), two polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), two suffered a flare of Crohn’s disease-related and aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgias, and one patient acquired autoimmune hemophilia. Pre-existing malignancy and immediate inflammatory response following zoledronate were more frequent in patients experiencing new or worsening immunologic manifestations (3/6 vs. 0/7, and 5/6 vs. 2/7, respectively). Conclusions: Intravenous ABP may trigger induction of persistent autoimmune syndromes, especially when accompanied by an immediate adverse reaction or pre-existing malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-671
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Aminobisphosphonates
  • Vγ9δ2 T cells
  • Zoledronic acid
  • γδ T cells


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