Bisphosphonates, a class of drugs designed to prevent the loss of bone mass, have ironically been associated with the weakening of bone that can lead to devastating injuries. The first such problems to surface were related to the degeneration of jaw bone due to a lack of blood supply. More than 700 federal lawsuits claiming that Fosamax caused osteonecrosis of the jaw—ONJ or “dead jaw”—have been filed and consolidated through multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a New York court. The second set problems with the drug have more recently surfaced with studies linking Bisphosphoantes with sudden spontaneous fractures of the femur (thigh bone).
The New England Journal of Medicine published in May 2011 a study conducted by Swedish Researchers, which found that 77 percent of women who suffered from atypical femur fractures were also taking Fosamax. The study began with 12,777 women aged 55 and older who sustained a femur fracture in 2008. Of these patients, researchers narrowed down who had suffered an atypical femur fracture by reviewing x-rays of the bone break. Although the number of women in the study with confirmed correlation between use of Fosamax and femur fractures was small, the connection is still evident and has been strengthened by this study.
On September 14, 2010 the expert Task Force at the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) released a study that indicates a connection between a risk of femur fractures and bisphosphonates such as Fosamax. The Task Force looked at 310 cases of atypical femur fractures and found that in (94%) or 291 cases the patients had been taking bisphosphonates. Recommendations from the study include product label changes alerting patients and healthcare professionals alike of femur fracture risk associated with long-term use of bisphosphonates. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering these recommendations and may intervene to force drug companies that make bisphosphonates to change their labels as suggested by the Task Force.
In addition, a medical study in the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma links Fosamax to a rare type of fracture in the femur. The small, observational study looked at 70 patients who experienced low-energy femur fractures, which occur when someone falls from a standing height or less. Twenty-five patients (36%) were taking Fosamax on average for four years or more. . The Fosamax patients’ fractures had some distinct characteristics: Nineteen (76%) of the 25 patients had a simple fracture with a straight line across the bone and and a beak-like overhang on one side. Also, the patients’ bones didn’t look like typical osteoporotic bone; it looked strong.
If you have been taking Fosamax and suffered a Femur fracture or ONJ you may be entitled to recover damages. Please contact one of our experienced product liability attorneys for a FREE case evaluation at 1-843-839-3377 today!