Bisphosphonate therapy in otosclerosis: A scoping review

René E. Zimmerer, Robert E. Africa, Zack K. Westenhaver, Brian J. McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Otosclerosis, a leading cause of deafness in adults, results from defective bone remodeling of the otic capsule. Bisphosphonates have been used to decrease bone remolding in many diseases, including otosclerosis. This study analyzes whether current literature supports bisphosphonate therapy as an effective treatment for otosclerosis. Design: Scoping review. Methods: A search was performed in three electronic databases; PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Control Trials. Articles were screened independently by two masked reviewers based on prespecified inclusion and exclusion criteria. After unmasking, the two reviewers resolved discrepancies through discussion. Results: From the search, 35 unique articles were identified for analysis. The dates of these publications range from 1982 to 2018. Further title and full-text review identified six articles for inclusion in this review. Three of the studies included are randomized controlled trials (RCT)s, and three are retrospective case reviews. These studies analyzed bisphosphonate therapy regimens, but dose and study length varied, making direct comparisons difficult. Only one RCT study was able to show a statistically significant change between patients treated with bisphosphonates compared to a control group. Conclusions: The efficacy of bisphosphonates for halting bone remodeling in otosclerosis remains unclear. Reviewing the literature, we found significant variations in experimental design and few studies of high-level evidence. Future RCTs investigating therapies for otosclerosis are needed before a firm conclusion about bisphosphonates efficacy as a pharmacological treatment of otosclerosis. Level of Evidence: 3a.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Otosclerosis
  • bisphosphonates
  • hearing loss
  • otospongiosis
  • scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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