What is Fosamax?
On September 24, 2004 the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning cautioning health care providers of the serious risks associated with the drug Fosamax and other bisphosphonates. Researchers found that the drug, commonly used to treat osteoporosis and advanced stage metastasized cancer, was directly correlated with the onset of osteonecrosis of the jaw, also know as dead jaw.
The American Association of Endodonists issued a statement in March of 2006 encouraging dentists to warn patients taking Fosamax of the potential risk for developing osteonecrosis of the jaw.
What is Fosamax used to treat?
Fosamax is distributed by pharmaceutical company Merck & Company and brings in an estimated $3 billion in sales annually. Approximately 22.4 million prescriptions for Fosamax were written last year. Fosamax is intended to treat and prevent bone pain and fractures in postmenopausal women as well as people with advanced stage cancer that has metastasized to the bone. Some cancers that may spread to the bone are breast cancer, lung cancer, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer and more. Bisphosphonates may also be administered intravenously in chemotherapy treatment.
What is osteonecrosis?
Osteonecrosis, or dead jaw, is a condition that causes the bone tissue of the jaw to be unable to heal following a tooth extraction or other minor dental trauma. When jawbone tissue is unable to be restored, fracture and infection can occur leaving the patient dependent on long-term antibiotic treatment or surgery to extract the dead tissue . Ultimately, osteonecrosis can cause a person's jaw to rot and die.
According to the National Osteonecrosis Foundation, an estimated 20,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with the osteonecrosis . It is unclear what percentage of these patients' conditions may be due to Fosamax and other bisphosphonates.
What if I have taken Fosamax?
A study published in the Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons reported the direct link found between long-term use of the drug Fosamax and the development of osteonecrosis. If you are taking Fosamax, it is strongly recommended by doctors and endodonists to avoid tooth extraction and other major dental surgery while on the drug.
If you believe that you have developed osteonecrosis or are experiencing other serious side effects with Fosamax usage, early treatment and prevention is the key to thwarting the dangerous side effects. To avoid further health complications with Fosamax, contact a trusted physician to discuss alternative treatments and how to seek help for your osteonecrosis.
Fosamax legal matters
Currently Merck & Co. faces several major pending lawsuits for the distribution of Fosamax. Allegations against the pharmaceutical company state that the medication was aggressively sold and marketed with blatant disregard for its potentially dangerous side effects such as osteonecrosis. Some experts believe that litigation over Fosamax could be even greater than the current litigation over Merck's painkiller Vioxx.
If you or a loved one has been injured while taking Fosamax, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and medical expenses. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Fosamax attorney. We offer a free legal consultation regarding your Fosamax case. We are prepared to help you seek the damages you deserve.