What is the problem with Fosamax?

There is growing concern over the safety of Fosamax and other osteoporosis drugs. Though many women take these medications to alleviate post-menopausal osteoporosis, there is no evidence that they are safe or effective to use for more than five years. Many women take them indefinitely.

The problem with taking Fosamax for a long period of time is that it may increase the chance of rare femur fractures, death of the jaw bone, and possibly esophageal cancer. Though osteoporosis medications do increase bone mass in the first few years of use, it is possible that after five years, they also increase the brittleness of the femur, leading to fractures.

A Canadian study of these medications, known as “bisphosphonates,” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) in February of 2011. This study linked long-term use of bisphosphonates to an increased risk of femur fractures.

What drugs are bisphosphonates?

Bisphosphonates are drugs prescribed to prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis. The most popular types of these drugs are Fosamax (Merck), Boniva (Roche Therapeutics), Actonel and Atelvia (Warner Chilcott), and many more. In 2008, the patent on Fosamax expired, and since then, several types of generics have entered the U.S. drug market.

In response to an increase in adverse events reports, the FDA announced in September of 2011 that it would review the safety of bisphosphonates and potentially recommend safety updates to the drug labels. They will need to conduct a comprehensive safety review of the injury reports, which will likely be extensive, because Fosamax has been in use for more than 16 years. Though femur factures are the most commonly reported adverse events, there have also been reports of death of jaw bones and esophageal cancer. If you have experienced a side effect after taking Fosamax, you may want to contact a Texas Fosamax lawyer.

It is estimated that four million women are taking a medication to treat post-menopausal osteoporosis. Merck has faced more than 1,115 lawsuits over jaw deterioration, and 535 over unusual femur fractures and other bone injuries. If you have had one of these injuries, you may want to contact a Texas Fosamax lawyer. In one case that Merck lost, the company was ordered to pay the defendant $8 Million for her injuries.


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