Fosamax, first marketed in 1994, is a drug produced and marketed by pharmaceutical icon Merck & Co., Inc. Fosamax is used to treat bone loss. It is one of several drugs that has been classified as a bisphosphonate, containing alendronate sodium. Fosamax is one of the best selling medicines made by Merck, with more than 20 million prescriptions written every year.
The ultimate history of Fosamax, however, is unlikely to be a success story. Recent developments show that instead of providing relief from degenerative bone problems, the drug is attacking the very patients that take it. There is growing evidence that proves bisphosphonate compounds like Fosamax result in restricted blood flow to the bone and cause osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), and gradually leading to a devastating condition that results in actual bone death, also known as Dead Jaw Syndrome. Fosamax, as happens with other biophosphonates, is metabolized very slowly. Medical experts are of the opinion that the drug may remain in the body for more than 10 years after the intake. Therefore, the risk of ‘osteonecrosis of the jaw’ persists even long after the patient have stopped using it.
Minor jaw traumas such as tooth extractions that do not heal properly, typically leading to exposure of the bone are also associated with the disease. Extreme pain, virulent infections, tooth loss and disfigurement are some of the serious complications that follow this exposure. There is no known cure for the osteonecrosis of the jaw. Scientists have coined a term for the obvious link between jaw necrosis and the use of biophosphonates – ‘bis-phossy jaw’. The term has been derived from the 19th-century term phossy jaw, observed in the workers of match factories working with white phosphorous that developed osteonecrosis of the jaw.
The damage done by ONJ is irreversible and usually requires long-term antibiotic therapy. There are surgical procedures, but rather than minimizing the effect they might end up intensifying it. There is also evidence that discontinuing the use of drug may not significantly decrease the risk of potential damages.
As lawsuits have progressed against Merck, some of the proceedings have focused on Merck’s resistance to making full disclosures about the drug. Merck has run some deceptive advertisements about Fosamax. In 2004, a reprimand was issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Merck about false and misleading statements about Fosamax. The FDA further demanded removal of all misleading statements from Merck’s marketing materials. The FDA also insisted that Merck make some labeling changes in Fosamax. Merck had to obey, and it did make some labeling changes. However, only six months after the FDA letter, new queries arose as to whether or not the changes made by Merck were adequate. Today, all products containing Fosamax include a warning that ‘osteonecrosis of the jaw’ has been reported in patients taking bisphosphonates.
If you have taken Fosamax and experienced problems with your jaw, your femor, or other bone density issues, you should complete a request for a free case evaluation now. Attroneys will obtain and review the necessary medical records to determine whether your jaw or femur issues could have been caused by Fosamax. If so, we will fight to ensure that you receive all the compensation that you deserve. If you delay, you might forfeit your right to financial compensation. There are deadlines imposed by statutes of limitation which could bar otherwise valid claims. Our qualified and dedicated Fosamax Litigation Attorneys can evaluate your case and will help you to fight for your Legal Rights. We can explain the specific legal claims available, as well as the litigation options available to you.