There are a few complications to be aware of when taking Fosamax and a sudden femur fracture is among them. This bone in the thigh is the largest in the body, so any alteration of bone chemistry will greatly affect it. The active ingredient in this drug, alendronic acid, has an effect on bone tissue that is not completely understood at this point. Even though its mechanism of action is not completely known, it is prescribed to thousands of people every year to combat osteoporosis and other bone density disorders.
Alendronic acid has shown to have varying effects on people who take Fosamax and bisphosphonates. A femur fracture caused by bone density loss is among these complications. While this is rare, it typically occurs suddenly and while subjecting the bone to low amounts of stress. For example, an otherwise healthy 59-year-old woman suffered a sudden break in her leg while riding the subway in New York. The injury was caused when the train jolted, and forced the woman to put her weight on one leg. Her bone immediately snapped, resulting in a spiral fracture, which is common among people affected by alendronic acid. The woman had not experienced any pain or aching prior to the injury. The woman had been taking Fosamax seven years and her femur fracture appeared to be similar to many other cases involving alendronic acid. Most victims report pain and aching in the thigh prior to injury, which may be caused by something as simple as walking or standing for a length of time.
Alendronic acid and other bisphosphonates are difficult to predict for a number of reasons. For one, they alter the body’s chemistry when it comes to breaking down and rebuilding bone tissue. Osteoblasts build bone tissue, osteoclasts absorb it. Normally, when the body is experiencing healthy homeostasis, the osteoblasts and osteoclasts work in harmony. So, overall bone density remains constant and damaged bone tissue is removed quickly. Alendronic acid inhibits osteoclasts, which helps maintain bone density. However, this can also cause unexpected biochemical changes in the bone, and allow damaged or brittle bone to remain in the body. Fosamax and femur fracture injuries appear to be linked, because alendronic acid causes the thigh bone to become brittle over time.
Alendronic acid remains in the body for a long time after it is taken. The functional half-life is about 10 years, so it can have an effect on a patient for up to a decade after it is taken. This makes accurate dosing difficult, because thorough testing is needed to detect the level of alendronic acid in a patient. This medication has also shown to cause the growth of large and multinucleated osteoclasts, which may further alter the body’s ability to control bone density.
Because Fosamax and femur fracture injuries have been linked strongly, the FDA has required new labeling on the medication divulging this research. The risk appears to be highest among patients who have taken the drug for five or more years. It’s recommended that any patient taking alendronic acid and experiencing thigh or groin pain talk to their doctor immediately about this rare and serious complication.
Anyone that has taken this drug and suffered the side effects described should consider contacting an attorney that is trained in this area of law to explore their options.