Doctors Should Inform Their Patients About Potential Serious Side Effects Like Osteonecrosis Of The Jaw And Femur Fractures
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)
The rather alerting headline above comes from an article, "Osteoporosis treatments and adverse events", which was published in the April 30, 2009 edition of Current Opinion in Rheumatology.
From the Abstract for this medical journal article:
Osteoporosis treatments will be used with increasing frequency as the population ages; however, relatively little is known about their long-term safety. Recent case reports cite a range of potential adverse events. We review data regarding atrial fibrillation, bone pain, osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), atypical fractures, and osteosarcoma....
Although case reports of adverse events with osteoporosis medications suggest potential links, epidemiological analyses have largely failed to illuminate a strong, clear link between osteoporosis therapies and many adverse events, with ONJ an exception. Until further data are available, providers should be aware of these potential side effects, and inform their patients accordingly.
Because there are growing number of patients who use bisphosphonates like Merck's very popular Fosamax pill, and due to the range of possible different side effects that have been associated with the use of those osteoporosis drugs, I thought it would be worthwhile to do a "round-up" of our recent posts on this subject.
- March 2009 Drug Safety Update Article And BMJ Case Reports Item Bring Attention To Fosamax-Related Atypical Stress Fractures Or Insufficiency Fractures Of Femur
- Possible Link Between Fosamax And Esophagus Cancer Surfaces; Merck Disputes This New Side Effect
- In October 2007 The Agency Estimated It Would Need Up To 12 Months To Complete Investigation Regarding This Possible Bisphosphonate Side Effect
As regards to the numerous Fosamax lawsuits involving ONJ that have been filed against Merck, the first Fosamax trial is scheduled to start in August 2009 -- with many more trials in federal and state courts expected to follow.
We will continue to keep you informed about the medical and legal developments concerning serious side effects associated with bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Aredia, and Zometa.