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Fosamax Claims Lawyers
Fosamax is a drug often prescribed to treat osteoporosis. It is supposed to help prevent bone loss; however, Fosamax can actually cause death and decay of the jawbone, known as osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).
Fosamax is part of a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are used to prevent and treat osteoporosis and to manage any cancer that has metastasized to the bone. Other bisphosphonates linked to osteonecrosis of the jaw include Aredia and Zometa. A study by the FDA determined that Fosamax has a higher occurrence of osteonecrosis of the jaw than any other bisphosphonate.
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)
ONJ is disfiguring and very painful. Loss of blood supply to the jawbone inhibits healing after minor trauma, the bone remains exposed, infection sets in, and the bone begins to rot and die. Symptoms of ONJ include:
- Pain, swelling, and infection of the gums
- Poor healing of the gums
- Dramatic gum loss
- Loosening of teeth
- Tooth loss
- Numbness or the feeling of heaviness in the jaw
- Pain or numbness of the face
- Exposed bone
- Pain, swelling, and infection of the jaw
Long-term side effects can include:
- Permanent inability to chew solid food
- Tooth loss
- Removal of portions of the jawbone
Treatment typically involves long-term use of antibiotics. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove sharp bone edges and dying portions of the jaw bone, but is avoided whenever possible because of the long recovery time and the high likelihood for making the condition worse.
Prevention of ONJ
People taking Fosamax should avoid dental work. Trauma as minor as a tooth extraction can cause ONJ when using the drug. Any major dental surgery must be avoided. Fosamax can stay in a person's system for months or years after stopping use of the drug, continuing to pose a very serious risk.
Fosamax was approved by the FDA in 1995. After the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons published the results of a study which linked the use of Fosamax to ONJ, the FDA began to review the safety of Fosamax and other bisphosphonates. In January, 2005, the FDA requested that Merck, manufacturer of Fosamax, revise its label to warn users of the risk of ONJ. Merck delayed the label change until July, 2005. In 2005 there were over 22 million prescriptions for Fosamax totaling over $3 billion in sales. Merck faces multiple lawsuits over the medication and its link to ONJ but has not withdrawn the drug from the market.
If you or a loved one has suffered osteonecrosis of the jaw after taking Fosamax, please contact our Mobile, Alabama Fosamax side effects attorneys today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.
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