Fosamax (Alendronate) is a bisphosphonate drug used for osteoporosis and several other bone diseases. Bisphosphonates are a type of drug designed to decrease the activity of cells that break down bones in the body, thereby inhibiting bone breakdown (osteoporosis).
Fosomax is marketed by Merck & Co. It is prescribed to treat and to prevent osteoporosis in women after menopause; it is also used to increase the bone mass of men with osteoporosis. It is marketed alone as well as in combination with vitamin D under the name Fosavance.
Recently, studies have shown that there may be a link between the use of bisphosphonates, including Fosamax, and osteonecrosis of the jaw, also known as "jaw death." The condition is often associated with the interference of the blood supply to the bone. The condition of jaw death may be triggered in the jaw by oral surgery or having teeth pulled. Osteonecrosis of the jaw can be extremely painful and may lead to additional complications, such as infection, breakdown of the jawbone, and ulcerations in the lining of the mouth.
In a report for the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery involving 63 patients who developed osteonecrosis of the jaw after having oral surgery, it was found that approximately 10% of those patients had been taking Fosamax. The chairman of the division of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami, Robert Marx, has said that he is aware of at least 40 or 50 cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw nationwide, in patients who had been treated with Fosamax.
The FDA has asked the manufacturers of all bisphosphonates to include a new warning in the labeling of the medications concerning the possible link to osteonecrosis of the jaw. It is not known if ceasing the use of Fosamax can lower the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw as the bisphosphonate medications metabolize slowly and remain in the bones for many years.
On April 10, 2006, a class action lawsuit was filed against Merck, charging that Fosamax causes osteonecrosis of the jaw. It also claims that Merck knew about this risk and hid it from the public. It is estimated that there are currently 10 million Fosamax users. If you suffer from dead jaw, Osteonecrosis or bone death as a result of taking Fosamax you should contact an attorney. Please fill out the form to the right and your submission will be forwarded to an experienced attorney.
Lawsuits of Interest
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