Sources:  US Food & Drug Administration; Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

A recent report of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons focuses upon the link between bisphosphonates (Fosomax, Boniva, Actonel, Reclast) and osteonecrosis of the jaw.  Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a disease in which bone tissue in the jaw does not heal after minor traumas, such as tooth extractions by a dentist.  The delayed healing causes the  bone of the jaw to become exposed leading  to infections often requiring long-term antibiotic therapy and surgery to remove the dead and dying bone tissue.   Other patients experience actual breaking of the jaw on tooth remocal.  Patients using Fosamax and other bisphosphonates should try to avoid tooth extractions and other major dental work while taking these medications.

The FDA announced as early as October of 2010 that bisphosphonates, medications to treat osteoporosis (a condition which makes bones brittle) may actually cause fractures of the femur (thigh bone). 

Bisophosphonates are drugs which are currently prescribed to more than half a million people diagnosed with osteoporosis.  Their prolonged use may be responsible for making bones more brittle. These drugs operate by slowing down the process of osteoclast cells which break down bone and replace it -a natural process.  The longer this natural process is delayed, the older the cells which make up the bone actually become.  Accordingly, the replacement bone is made up of old bone cells which are more brittle and more subject to fracture with limited or no trauma.  Those taking Fosomax for more than 3 years appear to be at most risk for low-energy femur fractures.

Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax (Alendronate), has largely denied the claims currently the subject of several class action lawsuits, although their labeling has been revised consistent with this information. 

If you or a loved one are taking Fosomax, Boniva, Actonel, Reclast or any other osteoporosis drug and you have experienced a low-energy femur fracture or osteonecrosis of the jaw, contact the Lewis Law Firm to determine if you have a case.  Our consultation and initial opinion are free.

Posted by: David M. Schwadron, Esquire