Recent evidence linking bisphosphonates to femur fractures seems likely to contribute to a surge in the litigation faced by Merck over its top-selling osteoporosis medication. More uncertain is whether that evidence will prompt the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a stronger stance on the optimal course of bisphosphonate treatment, as long term Fosamax use appears to raise the risk of injury.
Bisphosphonates May Be Ineffective Beyond Five Years
An analysis performed by the FDA and published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine found no strong evidence that bisphosphonates are useful after three to five years of treatment. Also published in May was a study by Swiss researchers that found 82 percent of patients with an atypical femur fracture had taken bisphosphonates.
Dr. Clifford J. Rosen, who co-authored a companion piece to the FDA review, expressed the concern of many bisphosphonate users when he said, “How long they need to be on [bisphosphonates] is the biggest question. That’s what people want to know.”
His answer: very likely no longer than three to five years if “you haven’t had any fractures and bone density is better.”
Some in the medical community, including Jim Wright of the Therapeutics Initiative, take an even stronger stance on the drug’s effectiveness. Wright believes, based on the evidence he’s reviewed, that “there are no clinically meaningful benefits for bisphosphonates in postmenopausal women” who haven’t experienced a fracture or vertebral compression.
“There’s really no proven benefit in women who just have a low bone mineral density. That’s probably the bulk of women who are getting it,” said Wright.
Your Femur Fracture May Not Have Been Accidental
Although accidents do happen, sometimes, an injury is the result of just more than bad luck. With the link between bisphosphonates and femur fractures stronger than ever, now is the ideal time to have your case reviewed by a lawyer. If you suffered a thigh bone break after taking Fosamax, contact the Rottenstein Law Group, a firm with more than 25 collective years of experience in products liability, to receive a free, confidential claim review. Get started by completing this form or calling 1-877-332-2347.
Learn More: Read RLG’s Fosamax Infographic