Bisphosphonate Drug Side Effects

Bisphosphonates are a class of pharmaceutical drugs used to prevent the loss of bone mass in patients with osteoporosis or similar diseases. Bone undergoes constant turnover and is kept in balance by osteoblasts creating bone and osteoclasts destroying bone. Bisphosphonates slow bone loss in patients with certain bone diseases by reducing the activity of osteoclasts, thereby inhibiting the digestion of bone. One of the most common bisphosphonate drugs used in the treatment of osteoporosis is Fosamax (alendronate), which entered the U.S. market in 1995 and is currently manufactured by Merck & Co. Unfortunately, recent studies and FDA warnings have identified long-term bisphosphonate use as a potential risk factor for the development of serious side effects among patients. If you took a bisphosphonate drug like Fosamax to treat osteoporosis or another bone disease, and have since experienced one or more major side effects, contact a bisphosphonate attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse.

Types of Bisphosphonate Drugs

The types of bisphosphonate drugs included in recent side effect warnings are those which have been approved to treat osteoporosis. According to the FDA, these potentially dangerous bisphosphonate drugs include:

  • Fosamax (alendronate sodium)
  • Fosamax Plus D (alendronate sodium/cholecalciferol)
  • Actonel (risedronate sodium)
  • Actonel with Calcium (risedronate sodium/calcium carbonate)
  • Boniva (ibandronate sodium)
  • Atelvia (risedronate sodium)
  • Reclast (zoledronic acid)

Bisphosphonate Drug Side Effects

Recent FDA warnings have indicated that bisphosphonate drugs used to treat osteoporosis may contribute to the development of severe side effects in patients, including atypical femur fractures, osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and esophageal cancer. Atypical femur fractures are extremely painful and debilitating fractures in the bone just below the hip joint or the long part of the thigh bone. ONJ is a catastrophic side effect causing damage and death to areas of the jaw bone, sometimes requiring large portions of the jaw to be removed. Esophageal cancer is characterized by a malignant tumor of the esophagus, the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach.

FDA Warnings for Bisphosphonate Drug Side Effects

In 2010, the FDA issued a safety announcement warning patients and healthcare providers about the risk of atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures and diaphyseal femur fractures in patients taking bisphosphonate drugs to treat osteoporosis. The FDA reviewed a 2008 study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in which researchers observed more than 300 cases of atypical femur fractures. According to the report, more than 90% of these patients had taken bisphosphonate drugs for five years or more, and 25% of the patients suffered femur fractures in both legs. In 2011, the FDA released a drug safety communication regarding the potential increased risk of esophageal cancer in patients taking bisphosphonate drugs. Before issuing this warning, the FDA reviewed two epidemiological studies using one patient database in the U.K. Although one study found no increase in the risk of esophageal cancer, the other found a doubled risk of esophageal cancer among patients who had ten or more prescriptions of bisphosphonate drugs, or who had taken the drugs over three years.

Bisphosphonate Drugs Attorneys for Side Effects

The side effects potentially associated with bisphosphonate drugs are severe and can significantly alter an affected patient's quality of life. If you or a loved one has suffered from a femur fracture, esophageal cancer, ONJ or another side effect which you believe to be linked to the use of a bisphosphonate drug, contact a bisphosphonate drug attorney for help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, the medical cost of treating your injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family, which you can collect by filing a bisphosphonate drug lawsuit against the allegedly negligent drug maker. You are not at fault for any side effects caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. With the help of an experienced bisphosphonate drug lawyer, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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