Fosamax is a bisphosphonate drug prescribed for the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Manufactured by Merck & Co. and introduced in 1998, it is currently the most frequently prescribed osteoporosis drug. Although thousands of patients take it to prevent the loss of bone density caused by osteoporosis, recently Fosamax has been linked with a number of serious side effects, including femur fractures and other bone issues.
Injuries Associated with Fosamax
Fosamax is associated with a number of relatively minor side effects, such as muscle pain, joint pain, stomach pain, and heartburn. In addition to these, Fosamax has been linked with two serious side effects: osteonectrosis of the jaw, and femur fractures.
- Osteonecrosis of the Jaw: also known as ONJ or ‘dead jaw,’) is a painful condition that may be linked with Fosamax use. ONJ causes the bones of the jaw to become unstable and the surrounding tissues to rot away, exposing the bone.
- Femur Fractures: According to recent research, Fosamax has the potential to cause femur (thigh bone) fractures. These fractures occur spontaneously while engaged in low-impact activities such as walking, or after minor trauma.
According to a March 2010 investigative report by ABC news, the femur fractures associated with Fosamax occur just below the hip joint, an injury known medically as “atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures.” Several studies have found that patients (particularly women) who receive long-term treatment with bisphosphonates such as Fosamax have weaker bones than those who received no bisphosphonates, which may contribute to the likelihood of femur fractures.
It is believed that Merck was aware for the potential risk of femur fractures at least as early as 2008, when the FDA began investigating the potential link. In 2008, Merck responded by adding femur fractures to the list of potential side effects, but this important concern was never fully relayed to doctors or patients.
Femur fractures appear to be more likely in those who have taken the medication for longer than five years. Because of this fact, it is expected that the number of Fosamax lawsuits will continue to rise in the coming years.
Fosamax Side Effects Lawsuit
Because the femur is one of the body’s strongest and largest bones, such fractures are alarming, as well as life-altering. If you or a family member has suffered a fractured femur while taking Fosamax, you may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. You may also have a case against the manufacturer, Merck & Co., if you have experienced other serious side effects caused by Fosamax, such as a case of ONJ. Although these serious side effects may heal, they are considered serious injury, which can pose ongoing complications affecting your quality of life well into the future. Drug lawsuits can protect your rights and ensure that your medical bills associated with these side effects are covered.
It is the responsibility of the drug manufacturer to make sure that their product is safe before introducing it to the market. Failure to warn consumers about the risks associated with the use of their medication – such as femur fractures, in the case of Fosamax – is viewed as negligence, and grounds for legal action.
If you believe you have been harmed by taking Fosamax, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. A product liability lawyer can help you understand your rights as a victim of Fosamax. Your lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a legal claim and help you decide whether to accept a pre-trial settlement, if one is offered to you.
Your lawyer can also help you determine how much compensation to seek through your Fosamax lawsuit. Many patients who are not represented by a lawyer fail to include certain damages, such as pain and suffering, or underestimate their future medical expenses, causing them to receive less compensation than they may have been able to pursue.