Fosamax Information and Warning

Fosamax, Merck’s osteoporosis and Paget’s disease drug, has been implicated as a cause of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) or Dead Jaw disease. ONJ is caused by the temporary or permanent loss of blood to bone tissue, which causes the tissue in the jawbone to die and the bone to decay. ONJ can also occur when the bone is prevented from replacing itself by the use of drugs like Fosamax. It has been estimated that more than 2,400 Fosamax patients have reported serious jaw problems, including ONJ, since 2001.

Fosamax is one of a group of drugs called bisphosphonates, and the jaw absorbs 10 times as much of a bisphosphonate as other bones in the body. Bisphosphonates prevent normal bone renewal, and the jaw and maxilla need renewal because they receive slight daily injuries from normal use. The continual injury and lack of renewal can lead to bone death.

The risk of bisphosphonate-related ONJ has been linked to the size of the dose, according to Maico Meol, oral surgeon at the Washington Center Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Almost 95% of bisphosphonate-related ONJ cases are related to high doses taken intravenously as chemotherapy. Bisphosphonates have a shelf life of about 12 years and stay in the body. Because they stay in the jawbone in large amounts, experts fear that many bisphosphonate-related ONJ cases will emerge in the future. ONJ is often brought on by invasive dental work, such as extractions, that injure the jawbone, but it sometimes occurs spontaneously.

A report was published by Dr. Salvatore Ruggiero, a surgeon at the Long Island Jewish Hospital in 2004. He found bisphosphonate-related ONJ cases in both chemotherapy patients and those being treated from osteoporosis. An article by the head of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami, Robert E. Marx, was published an article in the November, 2005 Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery reporting bisphosphonate-related ONJ cases in patients receiving chemotherapy.

Fosamax information indicates that ONJ is a potential Fosamax side effect, particularly for patients who take it for a long period of time.

Check out the following articles for more information about Fosamax, filing a Fosamax lawsuit and finding a Fosamax attorney.