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Fosamax & Osteonecrosis
of the Jaw

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According to recent studies designed to monitor the potential development of bisphosphonate side effects, it has been determined that Fosamax and osteonecrosis of the jaw share a causative link. Patients prescribed Fosamax for the treatment of a bone condition like osteoporosis or osteitis deformans face an increased risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Also referred to as bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BON), ONJ is a rare bone disease caused by the temporary or permanent loss of blood to the tissue of the jawbone.

In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested a label change to warn patients of the ONJ risk associated with using bisphosphonate drugs. Novartis, manufacturer of intravenous bisphosphonates Zometa and Aredia, added ONJ to its drugs' label as a precaution. Oral bisphosphonate manufacturers Merck (Fosamax) and Sanofi-Aventis (Actonel) also added ONJ warnings to their labels in an effort to alert consumers and avoid potential litigation.

People taking bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax are strongly advised to avoid dental procedures (specifically tooth extractions) while undergoing treatment with the drug. Certain dental procedures can increase a patient's chance of developing a case of osteonecrosis of the jaw. A tooth extraction can lead to the exposure of jawbone and accelerate the development of ONJ. Bisphosphonate use can significantly slow the healing process, oftentimes to the extent that infection and bone death become an issue. As such, bisphosphonate patients should consult with their doctors prior to undergoing any type of dental procedure to ensure that the appropriate safety measures can be taken.

If you have already developed a case of osteonecrosis of the jaw, you should consider speaking with a personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer will be able to evaluate your case, inform you of your rights, and educate you on settlements and lawsuits aimed at obtaining monetary compensation.


Osteonecrosis and Fosamax

Osteonecrosis most often affects the joints of the hip (hip degeneration), shoulder and knee. When osteonecrosis is caused as a result of Fosamax use, the condition develops in the jaw (ONJ). Traditional causes of osteonecrosis are separated into two basic categories: post-traumatic osteonecrosis and non-traumatic osteonecrosis.

Post-traumatic osteonecrosis is most often associated with a severely broken bone or dislocated joint caused by some type of physical trauma that impedes the flow of blood to bone tissue. Non-traumatic osteonecrosis, also called idiopathic osteonecrosis, is unrelated to physical trauma of any kind. Non-traumatic osteonecrosis has been linked with alcoholism, smoking, blood clotting disorders, kidney disease, connective tissue disease, lupus and other diseases and conditions that can cause a disruption of the blood supply to bone tissue.

Fosamax Lawsuits

Although Fosamax-induced ONJ is a relatively rare issue, there are a number of people at risk of complications associated with use of Merck's oral bisphosphonate. Merck has taken steps to advise patients of these risk factors, though they still face significant liabilities for any injuries caused as a result of using their product. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using Fosamax or another type of bisphosphonate, you may be able to reach a settlement with those responsible; alternatively, you may be able to obtain financial compensation by filing a pharmaceutical liability lawsuit for your pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury lawyer to get additional information on your rights as a Fosamax victim and to learn more about filing a Fosamax lawsuit.

If you have lost a loved one due to side effects from other drugs, you may have a case for wrongful death. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have cause for a wrongful death lawsuit.

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