Fosamax which is a drug manufactured by Merck & Co. has been prescribed to millions of people since it was approved in 1995 for the treatment of osteoporosis and Pages disease of the bone. Although fosamax is designed to prevent bone fractures, some studies and adverse event reports suggest that long term use of fosamax can actually increase the risk of fracture to the long bone.
Fosamax is in the group of medicines called bisphosphonates, which alter the cycle of bone formation and break down in the body. Fosamax is intended to slow bone loss when increasing bone mass, therefore preventing bone fractures. Small fractures may accumulate and cause spontaneous femur fracture without any immediate trauma, occurring either in the bone just below the hip joint or the long part of the thigh bone. Fosamax relating to femur fractures may occur in patients in low impact activities such as walking even though the femur is one of the strongest bones in the body.
Fosamax has also been linked to a serious condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, necrosis or jaw death. Osteonecrosis of the jaw can cause the death of parts of the jaw bone which can lead to extreme pain and require the jaw to be removed.
About 3,000 case of ONJ have been reported among users of fosamax and similar drugs since 2003.
In 2003, the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery published a letter which found that dozens of patients taking bisphonsphonates had developed the symptoms of jaw necrosis. Subsequent research has uncovered thousands of osteonecrosis cases among bisponsphonates users including those who use fosamax.
In 2004, the FDA ask Merck & Co. the manufacturer of the drug to issue a warning about the risk of developing osteonecrosis from taking the drug.
Although Merck added fosamax warnings to the information it sends to doctors, patients received no warnings about the risk of fosamax’s side effects and as a result many were unaware of the potential risk they face from taking the drug until they developed osteonecrosis of the jaw.
Although many patients may be at an increased risk of developing jaw necrosis, cancer patients taking the bisphosphonate drug and patients who undergo dental procedures are at the highest risk of experiencing the side effects of fosamax.
Many patients who have developed osteonecrosis have filed Fosamax law suits against Merck alleging that company failed to properly warn consumers about the risk of Fosamax’s side effects.
If you have experienced the symptoms of osteonecrosis of the jaw after taking fosamax you should immediately contact Liam Moloney, Solicitor, on 045 898000 or simply log onto our website www.moloneysolicitors.ie for further information.