The Osteoporotic Drug Fosamax is Linked to Rare Femur Fractures:
Fosamax (alendronate) is a bisphosphonate that slows down the break down of bone by inhibiting osteoclasts and thereby allowing for bone restoration. This drug is manufactured by Merck and is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women by increasing bone mass and decreasing the possibility of fractures of the hip and spine. Women most at risk include Caucasians and Asians or those who have a family history of osteoporosis. Fosamax is also used to treat osteoporosis in men and women who have received glucocorticoids and who have low bone density. This drug is also used to treat Paget’s disease which a chronic bone disease that involves abnormal bone remodeling. As a result, bone becomes enlarged, less dense, brittle and subject to fractures. The cause of Paget’s is not well understood but there is some evidence of an abnormal gene on chromosome 5, which provides for susceptibility to disease. Secondarily, a virus is suspected of triggering the bad gene bringing about all the symptoms of Paget’s.
It is important to take Fosamax properly as it has a number of side effects associated with taking it. You should take Fosamax at least 30 minutes before the first food of the day, beverage, or other medication. You must take it with a full glass of water only at the beginning of your day. All of this is to make sure Fosamax makes it to your stomach and doesn’t get caught in your esophagus to prevent throat irritation and possible ulceration. You should not lie down for 30 minutes after taking Fosamax to prevent reflux. If you have inadequate calcium and vitamin D, you will have to take supplements. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
A number of side effects have been reported with Fosamax that include osteonecrosis of the jaw (death of the jaw-bone), muscle pain, joint pain and rare femur fractures.
Early on the FDA received reports of Fosamax side effects necessitating the FDA to release a letter to healthcare providers to use this drug with caution with some patients. These reports included side effects of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), esophageal irritation, musculoskeletal pain, and Fosamax femur fractures. The femur fractures occurred from a sitting or standing position and considered low trauma injuries. One study in 2009 published in the medical journal Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, reports on four women who experienced femoral stress fractures who had taken Fosamax for more than 5 years. X-rays showed atypical transverse fracture lines. After discontinuing use, three of the women required surgeries to stabilize their femur bones.
More Studies Implicate Fosamax with Femur Fractures:
A study done by Columbia University investigated 111 women taking bisphosphonates including Fosamax. Their studies demonstrated that early on in therapy patients showed marked improvement in bone structure but after long-term use bone structure diminished. Further studies conducted at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York observed 21 women who had femur fractures. Twelve of these patients who had been on bisphosphonates for over eight years demonstrated reduced bone mass as compared to the other 9 patients who did not take bisphosphonates. Additionally, the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that bisphosphonates like Fosamax behave more like a bone hardener than a bone builder. They have also observed that bone becomes brittle over time with the use of Fosamax.
On March 2010, the FDA began a safety review of Fosamax to determine whether or not there is an increase in the risk of bone fractures. The agency is investigating the possible link between Fosamax and fractures that occur below the hip joint on patients who have been on bisphosphonates for several years. The investigation is still on going but the FDA suggests that for patients who are currently on bisphosphonates should continue therapy but should make sure they talk to their healthcare providers if they develop any symptoms.
If you have experienced a Fosamax femur fracture or any other bone related illness while on Fosamax, you may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. You might want to speak with a Fosamax attorney to see if you qualify for a Fosamax lawsuit. Fosamax lawsuits are currently being filed across the country.