In the August 27, 2012 posting on the New York Times‘ blog Well, author Roni Caryn Rabin tells the story of a Long Island, NY office manager who was diagnosed with osteoporosis at age 50 and has felt like a “guinea pig” because she has been on a medication merry-go-round with bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax. While the woman in the story did not experience anything as serious as a broken femur or osteonecrosis of the jaw, she did come down with a “severe flulike reaction,” and developed kidney stones in an effort to treat her bone loss. At 59, the woman is now successfully receiving treatment, but the blog post goes on to stress how serious a fracture would be later on in life, if osteoporosis is not properly addressed.
Fractures Can Be Life-Threatening as We Age
Although about seven percent of post-menopausal women will experience a femur, hip or some other type of fracture, research indicates that too many younger women are being treated unnecessarily with drugs like Fosamax. According to the blog, “This year, the American Academy of Family Physicians cited the [bone] scans among five tests that are often performed unnecessarily and may lead to overtreatment of patients. Yet 20 percent to 60 percent of family physicians and internists have been performing DXA scans on younger women. Too much screening often leads to too much treatment, doctors say.”
“If you do testing earlier on and you identify osteopenia or osteoporosis, then you’re compelled to want to treat these folks,” said Dr. Glen Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “For low-risk patients with modest bone loss, or osteopenia, bisphosphonates like Fosamax and Boniva may do more harm than good,” he added.
There has been much talk lately about alternatives to drugs like Fosamax, with many health professionals advocating for lifestyle changes instead of medication. Statistics provided to the Times by IMS Health, a health care information and services company, show that prescriptions for bisphosphonates have dropped off since 2007, with an estimated 24.7 million written this year, as compared to 46.8 million written in 2007. Those figures include the availability of generic equivalents of Fosamax and other popular brand-name medications.
Osteoporosis Patients Should Heed the Advice of Their Doctors
While some women are able to prevent bone loss with diet and exercise, some might need additional supplements or medication to reverse the effects of bone loss. Only a qualified physician can help you determine what is right for you. The frequency of bone scans and the appropriate treatments to address bone loss as one ages should be discussed at length with your doctor.
RLG Represents Injured Fosamax Users
Some osteoporosis sufferers benefit from Fosamax, taking the drug as directed without any serious side effects.
If you have been taking Fosamax for an extended period of time, however, and have suffered an injury, it could be because of the medication, and you might be eligible for compensation by filing a lawsuit against Merck & Co., the manufacturer of the drug. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group can help. Our 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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