One of the most-prescribed drugs in America, a bisphosphonate manufactured by Merck called Fosamax is now facing growing concerns about side effects including osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Often referred to as 'Dead Jaw', ONJ is a rare syndrome where the jaw bone tissue dies. This Fosamax side effect directly thwarts the drug's purpose, which is to strengthen bones and prevent bone loss in women and men with osteoporosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Merck issued a warning to health care professionals on September 24, 2004.
Fosamax has come under fire in recent months in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which linked the use of intravenous and tablet bisphosphonate drugs to ONJ in a variety of patients. Although the studies showed that intravenous use was the most dangerous, oral use is also a concern due to the long-term nature of most osteoporosis treatment and the high level of prescriptions for seniors. This follows on the FDA's requiring more stringent labeling procedures for bisphosphonate drug medications such as Fosamax. The organization recently approved bisphosphonate drug Actonel for use in males.
ONJ is an irreversible condition in which bone tissue dies and fails to regenerate and is often seen in patients who have had dental extractions or implants and oral surgery. Symptoms include pain and swelling, numbness in the jaw, exposed bone, and loose teeth. Patients who are starting bisphosphonate use for osteoporosis should tell their doctor and dentist of their bisphosphonate use if they anticipate having oral surgery.
Fosamax was prescribed over 22 million times in 2005 and the drugs' popularity is spreading. Another study quoted on April 4, 2006 by United Press International found more than 2,400 patients who were taking the injected form of bisphosphonate had suffered bone damage to their jaws since 2001.
To find out more about bisphosphonate side effects and unsafe drugs, visit www.thelawfirmofrobertgoldwater.com . This website has information and news on bisphosphonate use, bisphosphonate class action, bisphosphonate litigation, and bisphosphonate lawyers.
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