Lawsuit claims Fosamax caused tissue disease
Fosamax is most often prescribed to patients suffering from post menopausal osteoporosis, steroid induced osteoporosis, or Paget’s disease. While it may have other uses as well, these are the primary intended uses as described by the manufacturer. These three conditions are similar in that they all result in low bone density from similar causes.
Normal, healthy bones are continually being broken down, recycled, and rebuilt. This is because bone, if simply built and left, will become brittle after only a few years. Your body understands that, and works very hard to combat brittle bones. However, in each of these conditions (two forms of osteoporosis and Paget’s disease), there is a problem with the recycling of the bones.
In osteoporosis, it is the rebuilding side of the cycle that is damaged. For various reasons, the rebuilding of bone matrix has been slowed down or stopped altogether. The bone is continuing, however, to be broken down at the normal rate, however, and this means the bone is continually being weakened, and becomes prone to fracture. Osteoporosis can affect any bone in the body, but common bones of most concern are the spine and hip, especially since fractures to these bones are especially dangerous and debilitating.
In Paget’s disease, however, it is the breakdown side of the cycle that has been affected. For reasons still unknown, the bone is being broken down faster than is normal, and in order to rebuild as fast as the bone is being broken down, the bone that is rebuilt is typically softer, more porous, and also has a greater volume of blood vessels. It is also possible that excess bone may be formed, and this may cause pain and increased risk of fracture. Paget’s disease can affect any bone in the body, but most commonly affects the skull, spine, pelvis, thigh (femur), and shin (tibia).
Fosamax was designed with the idea of reducing the risk of serious injury due to osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. In cases of osteoporosis, Fosamax works to slow the process of bone breakdown, allowing the body more time to rebuild strong, normal bone. It also actually helps to increase bone mass itself, therefore reversing the process of osteoporosis. In Paget’s disease, Fosamax slows down bone resorption, thus giving the body the time it needs to build healthy, non-porous bone.
Serious Fosamax Side Effects
Fosamax users often suffer from a number of GI tract abnormalities, some of which can include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Obstipation (severe constipation)
- Ulceration of the esophagus
In addition to GI tract abnormalities, there are a number of other Fosamax side effects that can result from use of the bisphosphonate drug:
Skin rash (rare potential of resulting in Stevens Johnson Syndrome or TEN)
Generalized pain of the muscles, joints and/or bones
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Although some of the aforementioned Fosamax side effects can potentially manifest themselves in a severe nature, the most serious Fosamax side effect is the development of a bone disease called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), or “dead jaw.”
Osteonecrosis is a type of bone disease that is commonly associated with large joints like the hips, knees, ankles or shoulders. The onset of ONJ is linked with the temporary or permanent loss of blood to bone tissue, leading to death of the tissue and the eventual collapse of the bone. There are approximately 10,000 to 20,000 new cases of osteonecrosis diagnosed each year in the United States, most of which occur as a result of some type of bone injury such as a fracture or dislocation.
Fosamax users run the risk of developing a serious case of osteonecrosis of the jaw and suffering through the extreme pain associated with the death of jawbone tissue. The pain associated with ONJ is said to be similar to that which is suffered by arthritics. Symptoms of osteonecrosis of the jaw can include localized pain in the jaw and/or maxillofacial region, a feeling of numbness or altered sensation, the loosening of teeth, soft tissue infections, and the exposure of bone within the oral cavity.
Fosamax users displaying any of the aforementioned ONJ symptoms should consult with their doctors immediately. If a case of osteonecrosis of the jaw goes undetected or untreated, it can potentially lead to the death of bone tissue and irreversible joint collapse within the jaw.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using a bisphosphonate drug such as Fosamax, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Merck & Co. face significant personal injury liabilities related to side effects resulting from use of their bisphosphonate drug. Contact one of our expert personal injury lawyers today to get additional information on personal injury settlements, compensation and your rights as a Fosamax victim.