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Did You Know?

More Americans die every year from an adverse reaction to a prescription medication than they do from illegal drug use.

Fosamax is a medicine in the bisphosphonates family that is prescribed widely to prevent bone loss or the decrease of bone density. It is commonly used by post-menopausal women.

Fosamax is probably the best-known brand-name drug for preventing hip fractures and deteriorating bones that often destroy the quality of life for older women. Reports in the last few years have linked Fosamax to a serious side effect in which the jawbone partially crumbles and dies.

There have been reports that persons taking Fosamax have developed a severe problem in which bone in their jaws dies. This “jaw death” (also referred to jaw necrosis or jaw decay) often appears after minor trauma such as a tooth extraction

FOSAMAX Drug Facts

  • Fosamax is Merck's second-biggest seller.
  • Fosamax generated $3.2 billion in sales last year.
  • Fosamax is taken by nearly 10 million men and women.
  • Fosamax was approved by the FDA on November 24, 1999. 
  • The American Dental Association released a set of treatment guidelines.
  • 2,400 patients taking bone building medications have reported jaw bone death.
  • Many women rely on medication to help prevent or treat bone loss or osteoporosis.
  • Merck only added language about the potential problem to Fosamax's label in July 2005 after a request from the Food and Drug Administration.
  • A lawsuit filed on April 10, 2006 alleges that Merck concealed and continues to hide Fosamax's potentially dangerous side effects from patients and doctors.

Fosamax Lawsuit Filed

The lawsuit further alleges that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked Merck to add a warning to Fosamax's label in August of 2004 and that it has yet to comply with that request.

Fosamax Drug Linked To Death of Jawbone

Over a three-year period, the jaws of dozens of patients who had undergone oral surgery at his hospital had failed to heal properly. Part of the jawbone had died and become exposed.

Fosamax Symptoms

Symptoms of "dead jaw" include irregular sore with exposed bone, pain or swelling in the infected jaw, infection, possibly with pus, altered sensation - numbness or a heavy sensation.

The highest risk factors for ONJ are:

1) taking bisphosphonates, especially in IV form.
2) concurrent use of steroids.
3) previous history of cancer, osteoprorsis or Paget's disease.
4) traumatic dental procedure, such as tooth extraction or dental implants.

Side effects seen from bone-building drugs.

More than 2,400 U.S. residents taking bisphosphonate drugs to build their bones have suffered bone damage to their jaws since 2001, a report said.

Aside from the 2,400, who were taking mainly the more potent injected form of bisphosphonates, 120 people taking the oral form of the drugs also have reported debilitating problems.

Merck & Co., which faces more than 16,000 lawsuits over its Vioxx painkiller, is accused of misrepresenting the safety of its osteoporosis drug Fosamax by withholding warnings that it could kill jawbone tissue.

Injured by Fosamax?

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If you or a loved one took Fosamax and suffered side effects, please fill out the form at the right for a free lawsuit case evaluation by a qualified drug side effects attorney.


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