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Pending Lawsuits Related to Fosamax

white pillsWhat is Fosamax, and Why is it Controversial?

Fosamax is a medication intended to slow bone loss while at the same time increasing bone mass. It is in a group of drugs known as bisphosphonates. It is primarily used to prevent or treat steroid-induced osteoporosis and postmenopausal osteoporosis. It may help prevent fractures. It is also used to treat Pagets disease of bone. Unfortunately, there are side effects that have caused serious harm to some users.

Fosamax Lawsuits

There are several lawsuits pending against Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax. They variously allege that the use of the medication caused the plaintiff to suffer bone/femur fractures, osteonecrosis bone decay in the jaw (ONJ), and/or esophageal cancer.

FDA Actions on Fosamax

In 2008, Merck submitted data to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) that suggested Fosamax may be linked to specific types of bone fractures and requested that the label be amended to include a warning. The FDA denied the company’s proposal to add a warning label to the medication. Then in 2010, the FDA ordered manufacturers of the medication to make label revisions and include a warning. Merck did so. 

Merck argues that it attempted to change the label to warn of potential bone-related side effects. As a result, the status of many of the lawsuits has not yet been decided. The issue was looked at by the U.S. Supreme Court, which directed a lower court to reconsider its decision that allowed some of the Fosamax lawsuits to proceed. Plaintiffs contend that Merck was requesting to warn of less serious stress fractures as opposed to the more severe fractures suffered by some of the plaintiffs.

Potential Side Effects of Fosamax Use

While many users have no problems taking the medication, there are plenty of potential side effects of Fosamax use, including:

  • Heartburn, indigestion, nausea
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Chest pains
  • Severe bone, joint, muscle pain
  • Jawbone problems such as infection delayed healing after teeth are pulled
  • Low energy femur (thigh bone) fractures
  • Stomach pain

Fosamax has been linked to a serious bone disease called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which can include symptoms such as:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Gum infection
  • Delayed healing after gum surgery or mouth injury

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms after taking Fosamax, consult with your doctor to determine if they could be a side effect of using Fosamax.

What is Fosamax Used to Treat?

The most common reason Fosamax is prescribed is to treat osteoporosis, which is thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time. There are no early warning signs of osteoporosis, but it can be potentially prevented through diet and exercise. For certain patients, doctors may prescribe bisphosphonate medication like Fosamax for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Should I Stop Taking Fosamax?

It is always wise to consult with your doctor about possible side effects, mixtures in medications and discuss changes in your prescription. Side effects can occur at any time during treatment. If you change your routine and add a new medicine, vitamin, minerals, or anything else, consult with your doctor first. Never stop taking a prescribed medication without first talking with your physician.

If you or a loved one has experienced any of the listed side effects related to Fosamax use, you are urged to speak with an attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can help. Call us at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 to set up a free consultation.

DISCLAIMER: This post is solely for informational purposes. It does not equate to a Legal Retainer/Services Agreement. No attorney-client relationship will exist between you and our firm unless a Retainer/Services Agreement is signed/executed. The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be legal or medical advice. Do not discontinue any medication without first consulting your doctor.

Photo by Michelle Leman from Pexels

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