According to a recent Reuters report, national survey research conducted over the past ten years has revealed that many Americans who take oral steroids to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis or immune system disorders, do not receive additional therapy to minimize the risk of side effects, which can include bone loss. More than 2.5 million adults in the United States take oral steroids, but “the longer you use steroids, and the greater amount of steroids, the greater your risk of fracture,” said Robert Overman, a research coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, who worked on the study.
Fewer Than One in 10 Steroid Users Takes Bisphosphonates to Prevent Bone Loss
More than a quarter of those who take steroids took the drugs for at least five years, according to the study data. Fewer than one in 10, however, were also taking bisphosphonates, which are recommended for most people on steroids to prevent bone thinning or osteoporosis. Osteoporosis expert Dr. Ethel S. Siris says the guidelines require people to have a bone density test before they begin steroid treatment. After that, doctors can determine if bisphosphonates are appropriate.
There are various ways to treat osteoporosis, including diet and lifestyle modifications, and hormone treatments for women. But bisphosphonates—such as Merck’s Fosamax—are the most popular option, due in part to their relative inexpensiveness. Conversely, the dangers of bisphosphonates are rapidly becoming well known. Since 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has known about a tendency of Fosamax to cause osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). More recently, research has linked Fosamax use to sudden, unusual bone fractures, particularly of the femur.
Oral Steroid Users Should Consult a Physician About Fosamax
Although Fosamax has helped many people keep the effects of bone loss in check, there might be alternatives that can be utilized instead of the drug. Very often, 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 lawsuit against Merck. 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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