Individuals who take bisphosphonate drugs, such as Actonel, Aredia, Boniva, Fosamax, and Zometa, to treat bone-weakening diseases or cancer are subject to many significant risks. In many cases, patients who took these drugs may have a valid personal injury claim to receive financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and damages.
Several warnings have been issued by the FDA regarding Fosamax, for example, which is used to treat osteoporosis and Paget’s disease and is manufactured by Merck & Company. Some patients experience damage and irritation to the esophagus, esophageal cancer, osteonecrosis or bone death, or an increase in the risk of bone fractures.
Bone death, or osteonecrosis, occurs when a bone does not heal and becomes infected and fractured after a minor trauma. Over time, the bone rots and the dead bone has to be surgically removed. Symptoms include swelling, pain, exposed bones, loose teeth, infected gums, numbness, and a feeling of heaviness.
In one case featured on Fox News, a woman was treated with bisphosphonates to act as a bone hardener when her cancer metastasized, in order to make her bones less susceptible to the cancer. She underwent monthly transfusions for two years before the FDA pulled the drug, citing “jaw death” as the reason. Ten years later, the rear quarter of her lower jaw is affected, dead bone is exposed, and her gum has receded.
Reportedly, she was refused treatment by six oral surgeons, antibiotics have not been effective. She may have to have part of her jaw and some teeth removed, and a steel plate implanted.
Furthermore, in October 2010, a safety warning was issued by the FDA regarding an increased risk of femur, or thigh bone, fracture. On July 21, 2011, an FDA Safety Announcement indicated that a recent study raised concerns that Fosamax patients had increased incidences of esophageal cancer when they used the drug for at least three years.
If you took Fosamax or another bisphosphonate drug and suffered damage and irritation to the esophagus, esophageal cancer, osteonecrosis a/k/a bone death, or an atypical femur fracture, you may have a valid drug safety claim. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Carey, Danis & Lowe for more information.