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In 1995, pharmaceutical giant Merck introduced Fosamax to the consumer market. Fosamax is a prescription drug intended for use in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and other degenerative bone conditions, especially in women who are going through menopause. At its peak in 2007, Fosamax brought in huge profits for Merck, including sales of $3 billion/year. Sadly, the drug seems to have the opposite effect in many patients, potentially increasing the risk for a severe jaw disorder and femur fractures.
The Philadelphia product liability attorneys at Golomb & Honik are currently evaluating claims from patients who were prescribed Fosamax and may have suffered related health problems. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with medical complications, osteonecrosis of the jaw, or femur fractures after using Fosamax, call us at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 immediately to evaluate your case.
Fosamax and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Fosamax was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and introduced to the marketplace in 1995. The drug was heavily marketed as a means for preventing bone breakdown and increasing bone density. It was also used to treat Paget’s disease, and other bone diseases and metastases.
Within years, however, Fosamax was linked to osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a disease in which the jawbone progressively weakens as the bone cells die. The condition results in pain, infection, loose teeth, and exposed bone. As a result, patients often lived in severe pain and were sometimes forced to undergo surgery to obtain prosthetic jaws.
Fosamax and Femur Fractures
As mounting research strengthened the relation between Fosamax and ONJ, reports of femur fractures in patients taking Fosamax began to surface. In 2010, the FDA issued a black box warning to Merck, requiring that labeling for Fosamax include an additional advisory about Fosamax‚Äôs potential for heightening the risk of femur fractures.
In 2012, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found a link between bisphosphonates like Fosamax and atypical femur fractures. This study reviewed 477 patients between 1990 and 2010 and found that 82.1% of those patients with atypical femur fractures were taking bisphosphonates. This risks increased the longer patients were using Fosamax, especially those patients who used Fosamax for five years or longer.
Fosamax and Irregular Heartbeats
In 2008, a study conducted at the University of Washington found that post-menopausal women who were taking Fosamax were at an increased risk for developing potentially life-threatening irregular heartbeats known as atrial fibrillations. Sadly, once atrial fibrillation is developed, it often remains a permanent condition.
Patients who experience blood clots, chest pain, fatigue, or palpitations and who are taking Fosamax, or have taken Fosamax in the past, should contact their physician for appropriate monitoring and cardiac testing.
The possible health hazards of Fosamax continue to be investigated, and the drug has been associated with other severe and dangerous side effects including:
- Esophageal ulcers
- Muscle and joint pain
- Soft tissue infections
Fosamax Lawsuits Continue to Rise
Patients across the United States are filing complaints and lawsuits against Merck for failing to warn consumers of the dangers associated with taking Fosamax. In addition, these lawsuits also allege unsafe drug and design defects and a breach of both implied and expressed warranties.
In December 2013, Merck agreed to pay $27.7 million to settle nearly 1,200 plaintiff cases alleging osteonecrosis of the jaw.
National Dangerous Drug Lawyers
If you were prescribed Fosamax and suffered a femur fracture, ONJ, or heart condition, please contact the Philadelphia-based dangerous drug attorneys at Golomb & Honik for a free case consultation. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the Philadelphia product liability lawyers at Golomb & Honik today at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.
The national dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb & Honik have successfully represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout the United States.