Although it has been on the market for over a decade, Fosamax has side effects that are becoming an increasing cause for concern. This drug, also known as alendronate, is a type of bisphosphonate that is taken orally, and used to treat osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. Both are types of bone diseases, with the former causing a loss in density and the latter being responsible for abnormal bone growth.
When cancer spreads to the bone, bisphosphonates are used to manage it. This type of drug abates bone loss while bone mass is created, thereby altering the cycle of bone remodeling. This bisphosphonate is commonly prescribed in the United States. By 2004 there were over 22 million instances of its use. Its popularity has resulted in numerous reports of negative side effects, but a Fosamax recall is not yet a reality.
Fosamax Side Effects
Fosamax side effects may include bone pain, esophageal ulcerations, and joint pain, as well as the more common conditions of femur fractures and the bone disease, osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Osteonecrosis is a disease that reduces blood flow to the joints, meaning that bones cannot repair themselves. As the bones fail to rebuild, they begin to die and break down. There are other bisphosphonates on the market that have associations with osteonecrosis and fractures besides Fosamax. The side effects of Actonel, Aredia, and Boniva can be just as serious and painful. Reports have shown that although the femur fractures occurred during low impact activities, x-rays revealed that the damage done was comparable to injuries sustained in a car accident.
The Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery published a report on osteonecrosis of the jaw that suggests the use of bisphosphonate drugs can disrupt the natural balance of osteoclasts and osteoblasts (the cells that are responsible for building and destroying bone). This can be particularly damaging since bisphosphonates remain indefinitely in the bone once they have been consumed. Long term use puts patients at a higher risk for Fosamax side effects, like fractures.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an official warning to healthcare providers and patients about the possibility of femoral fracture. This information has not yet prompted the makers to issue a Fosamax recall, but a Fosamax lawsuit has been brought against Merck, the manufacturer of this drug. Many more claims are expected to follow as time goes on. As a reflection of the risk associated with its use, the labeling will receive an update.
While it is not encouraged that patients quit taking their prescriptions without doctor approval, if Fosamax side effects are a concern it may be a good idea to speak with a drug injury lawyer to discuss the possibility of a Fosamax lawsuit. A reputable attorney with extensive knowledge and experience in this area will be able to advise the victim on their various options. In order to prevent a case from being thwarted by a statute of limitations, calling sooner rather than later may be rather important. Finding an attorney with a policy of free and confidential consultations will provide the victim with plenty of useful information without any further obligation.