Fosamax and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Side Effects

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and Fosamax use may be linked in recent studies.  If you have experienced these side effects, contact an attorney to discuss filing a Fosamax lawsuit for your injuries.

An emerging body of research has suggested that the osteoporosis drug Fosamax may be linked to the development of a debilitating bone disease called osteonecrosis of the jaw in patients. Fosamax, manufactured by Merck & Co., originally garnered FDA approval in 1995 and has since been prescribed to patients suffering from osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Fosamax (alendronate) belongs to a group of medications called bisphosphonates, which were designed to prevent the deterioration of bone by increasing bone mass and slowing down the activity of cells that break down bone. However, Fosamax side effect studies have indicated that Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs may actually contribute to the breakdown of bone, resulting in severe side effects like atypical femur fractures and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). If you took Fosamax to treat your osteoporosis and have since suffered from the devastating side effect ONJ, contact a Fosamax attorney to discuss your legal options.

ONJ Symptoms

ONJ is a catastrophic bone disease characterized by damage to and death of portions of the jaw bone, sometimes requiring removal of the bone. The onset of ONJ is linked to the temporary or permanent loss of blood to bone tissue in the jaw, leading to death of the tissue and the eventual collapse of the bone. In some cases, ONJ may remain asymptomatic throughout the early stages of the disease's development. Other patients may exhibit ONJ symptoms within weeks or months of beginning Fosamax treatment, and these symptoms may include:

  • Exposed bone
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw or gum pain, swelling or infection
  • Loss of sensation in the jaw
  • Dramatic gum loss

ONJ Treatment and Prognosis

Patients who begin to exhibit symptoms of ONJ should consult their healthcare providers immediately. Without treatment, ONJ may lead to death of the bone tissue and irreversible joint collapse within the jaw. In some cases, large sections of the affected bone may have to be surgically removed. This procedure is extremely serious and may leave the patient unable to chew solid food. Intensive monitoring typically follows ONJ surgery, as improper treatment may result in complications like septicemia and death.

FDA Warnings and Fosamax Side Effect Studies

In 2004, the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery published a study in which researchers suggested a potential link between the use of Fosamax and the development of the bone disease ONJ. Two years later, the Annals of Internal Medicine explored this potential correlation further. Researchers observed nearly 400 patients who developed ONJ after taking Fosamax or a similar osteoporosis medication. In January 2005, Merck received a request from the FDA to update the Fosamax label to include the risk of ONJ, and in March 2010, the FDA approved revisions to the label for Fosamax that added and updated information regarding Fosamax and ONJ.

Fosamax Attorneys for ONJ Side Effects

Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a debilitating and irreversible side effect that may be linked to the use of osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax. Unfortunately, Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs are the most common drug therapy for the prevention of fractures associated with osteoporosis, and are prescribed to millions of patients around the world. If you or a loved one has suffered from ONJ, and you believe Fosamax to be the cause, contact a Fosamax attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may have grounds to file a Fosamax lawsuit against Merck & Co. in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The main goal of Fosamax attorneys is to help victims of potential Fosamax side effects protect their rights and hold the allegedly negligent drug company liable for their injuries. By hiring a qualified Fosamax lawyer to represent your case, you can collect the compensation you deserve and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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