In light of recent lawsuits filed by women who have suffered not one, but two femur fractures allegedly caused by long-term Fosamax use, and additional reports that show evidence of a connection between use of the drug and the occurrence of esophageal cancer, osteoporosis patients might want to seek out alternatives to taking a bisphosphonate drug like Fosamax to effectively treat the condition.
FDA Analysis and Swiss Study Link Bisphosphonates to Fractures
A study published in the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in May 2012 provided stronger evidence that bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax can lead to atypical femur fractures and should not be used long-term.
Doctors from the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland determined, based on existing evidence, that bisphosphonate drugs are associated with an uncommon type of femur fracture. Through their evaluation of 477 patients who’d been hospitalized with a femur fracture—39 with atypical fractures and 438 with classic fractures—the researchers found that roughly 82 percent of the patients with atypical femur fractures had been treated with bisphosphonates. By comparison, among those patients in the classic fractures group, only 6.4 percent had received bisphosphonate therapy. In addition to their conclusion that drugs like Fosamax increase atypical femur fracture risk, the researchers also noted that longer bisphosphonate treatment further raises the risk.
“In conclusion, we have demonstrated that the association between bisphosphonate treatment and the occurrence of atypical fractures of the femur is highly likely and that the duration of such treatment significantly correlates with augmented risk,” wrote the study’s authors.
The Swiss study was published on the heels of an FDA analysis that appeared online on May 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The analysis concluded that osteoporosis sufferers, women in particular, “showed little benefit of continued bisphosphonate treatment beyond five years.”
Fosamax Linked to Esophageal Cancer
A study presented in July to the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting concludes that using Fosamax might contribute to cancer of the esophagus. “In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported on 23 patients who had developed distal esophageal cancer, with alendronate … within 2 years of initiation of therapy. Similarly, 31 cases of esophageal cancer were reported from Europe and Japan. Esophagitis has been associated with oral [bisphosphonates]. Erosive esophagitis and persistent mucosal abnormalities have been noted with crystalline material (similar to ground [alendronate]),” the study’s abstract states.
Osteoporosis Patients Should Consult a Physician About Fosamax
Although Fosamax has helped many people keep the effects of osteoporosis in check, there might be alternatives to the drug. In order to minimize the risk of fracture or of developing cancer, lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications and the addition of exercise can help strengthen bones and help reverse bone loss. Only a qualified medical professional, however, can advise whether osteoporosis can be treated without medication. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits of a drug like Fosamax in order to determine whether it is right for you.
RLG Represents Injured Fosamax Users
If you have been taking Fosamax for an extended period of time and have suffered a femur fracture, it could be because of the medication, and you might be eligible for compensation by filing a femur fracture lawsuit against Merck. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group can help. Our Fosamax lawyers have over 25 years of collective experience advocating for clients in consumer product injury and mass tort cases. Please fill out our contact form or call us at 1-877-332-2347, and one of our lawyers will be in touch.
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