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Bisphosphonates - Side Effects Lawsuit Did you or a loved one take Fosamax (alendronate), or Boniva (ibandronate)?
Medical Uses For Bisphosphonates
These drugs are part of the drug classification known as "bisphosphonates," also known as "diphosphonates." Doctors frequently prescribe bisphosphonates to their patients to prevent and/or treat such diseases as osteoporosis, osteitis deformans, bone metastasis, multiple myeloma, and other conditions where the patient has fragile, breakable bone. As you may know, bone undergoes a natural recycling process involving osteoblasts, which create new bone, and osteoclasts, which destroy bone. Bisphosphonates are designed to inhibit the digestion of bone by encouraging osteoclasts to undergo apoptosis, or cell death, thereby slowing bone loss in the body.
Harmful Side Effects Of Bisphosphonates: Long-Term Use Of Bisphosphonates May Cause Jawbone Necrosis or "Jawbone Death"
One alarming possible side effect of using oral bisphosphonates is undoubedly jawbone necrosis or "jawbone death," a terribly painful and disfiguring condition caused by a shortage of blood flow to the jawbone, which sometimes requires its removal. In March of 2010, a jury ruled in favor of 72 year old woman who was seriously injured and disfigured by jawbone necrosis. Jurors felt that there was enough compelling evidence to prove that the plaintiffs horrific injury was a direct result of using Fosamax, a bisphosphonate manufactured by Merck. The plaintiff was awarded 8 million dollars for her pain and brutal disfigurement.
A study was conducted by the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, and later published in the January 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association which reported that four percent of the healthy patients participating in the study developed infections in their jawbones which were caused by the oral use of bisphosphonates.
May Cause Weakened, Brittle Bones And Broken Thigh (Femur) Bones
Another serious problem with bisphosphonates is that they may actually "cause" bone fractures, the very thing they are meant to prevent. There are reports of bisphosphonate patients who have had their thighbones simply snap while standing or taking a walk. This tragedy came unexpectedly after weeks or months of unexplained aching in their legs. According to Dr. Dean G. Lorich, associate director of orthopedic trauma surgery at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and the Hospital for Special Surgery, "Many of these women will tell you they thought the bone broke before they hit the ground," In May of 2008, Dr. Lorich and his colleagues published a study in The Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma which has a report on 20 patients with the fracture. Nineteen out of 20 of these patients had been using the bone drug Fosamax manufacturered by Merck for an average of 6.9 years.
If jawbone death and bone shearing weren't bad enough, Fosamax has been linked to esophagael cancer. A letter was written to the New England Journal of Medicine by FDA official, Diane Wysowski stating that the FDA had already received 23 reports of esophageal cancer linked to the drug Fosamax. Even though the FDA itself said other bisphosphonates like Boniva, Actonel or Didronel, were not mentioned, Wysowski herself would not rule out that they may too be linked to esophageal cancer.
Wysowski admits that there have not yet been a significant study to prove or disprove whether the use of oral bisphosphonates can lead to esophageal cancer, she does note that oral bisphosphonates have been linked to esophagitis, an inflammation of the esophagus.
Merck is currently facing over 1,000 lawsuits from the pharmaceutical drug Fosamax due to its dangerous side effects. Over 100 people have also filed lawsuits for femur fractures, and the numbers are expected to rise in the years to come.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious side effects from taking Fosamax or Boniva, please call or contact our office today at 727-397-9198 for a free consultation.
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