After two studies were conducted in an attempt to answer the question of whether or not the osteoporosis drug Fosamax increases the risk of esophageal cancer, the public is left scratching their heads over the answer.
One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no increased risk of the cancer in patients and another in the British Medical journal found the risk to be doubled.
The main reason for the difference in results is because each analysis used a different method and neither was based on proprietary or original information, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both studies involved researchers using statistical software, fast computers, and medical data sets to analyze previously gathered data. Researchers then tried to identify correlations, such as if a drug may lead to an adverse side effect. These types of studies are called observational.
The U.S. Food and drug administration is reviewing the conflicting U.K. study and is a cancer risk is found, the agency will re-evaluate the manner in which the drugs are prescribed.