Fosamax is not a hormone. Fosamax is a treatment for prevention of osteoporosis (thinning of bone). It reduces the chance of having a hip or spinal fracture. It is a treatment to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis, and for men or women who are taking corticosteroid medicines.

You should not take Fosamax if you cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes, have some problems with your esophagus- the tube that connects your mouth with your stomach, have low levels of calcium in your blood or if you are allergic to Fosamax or any of its ingredients.

In 2006, a lady Judith Graves living in Florida sued Merck, alleging that the company failed to warn doctors and patients that the intake of drug is linked somehow to jaw tissue death. Graves said she developed jaw problems requiring multiple surgeries after taking the drug but Merck said her condition was connected to underlying medical conditions.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey is the company that makes Fosamax. Merck is facing more than 1,500 claims in federal and state courts alleging Fosamax damages people’s health. A woman from Florida developed dental and jaw problems after using Fosamax. ‘The claimant had multiple medical conditions that can cause people to develop jaw and dental problems,’ said Mike Brock, Merck’s attorney.

But a New York jury found out that Merck & Co’s drug- Fosamax is not responsible for any damage. The evidence showed the company acted properly and that Fosamax did not cause the plaintiff’s dental and jaw problems. Her lawyer Tim O’Brien said in an e-mail: ‘Graves will appeal and we are disappointed as every single treating doctor testified Fosamax caused Mrs. Graves’ osteonecrosis of the jaw.

In another case, Shirley Boles, a 72-year-old woman from Florida claimed that she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw, or jaw death from taking Fosamax. The case of Boles is one of the hundreds of Fosamax jaw injury lawsuits that are combined in the federal court. And the trial jury verdict is $8 Million for claimant. Hence this particular case resulted in a verdict for Shirley Boles.

Merck said that it plans to challenge the jury’s decision as it believes the awarding of compensatory damages was unjustified and excessive. The argument forwarded  by Merck was that Ms. Boles was a habitual smoker, smoking for years and that she was prone to dental problems owing to her smoking habits.

“We disagree with the jury’s verdict. We believe the jury verdict was a result of plaintiff’s counsel’s inflammatory and prejudicial remarks,” said Paul Strain of Venable LLP, outside counsel for Merck. The request for defense verdict and even new trial was put down by the District Judge, John F. Keenan. The press release issued on June 25, 2010 throws more light on the issue of settling the account for lesser compensation rather than $8 million. The release is archived as “Merck Challenges Verdict in Federal FOSAMAX(R) (alendronate sodium) Trial”.