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Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis & Fosamax

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Breaking News – Recent studies link femur fractures and Fosamax use. Visit our page on Fosamax leg fractures to learn more. Click here.

Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease involving a loss of bone mass, density and strength, leaving patients more susceptible to debilitating fractures. Although men and women alike are at risk of osteoporosis, studies have shown that postmenopausal women face the greatest risk.

Though relatively little can be done to treat osteoporosis, certain drugs are sometimes prescribed to combat the effects is has on the bones; one of these drugs is Fosamax. Unfortunately, some patients taking Fosamax for osteoporosis or another bone disease have developed a debilitating disease called osteonecrosis in the jaw and/or maxillofacial region. This painful disease often requires extensive treatment costing thousands of dollars. As a result, some patients have opted to file suit in order to recover compensation for their losses. If you or someone you love has developed osteonecrosis of the jaw after taking Fosamax, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling defective drug lawsuits and settlements.

Diagnosing Osteoporosis

The World Health Organization (WHO) has an established classification system through which to determine whether someone is suffering from a case of osteoporosis. Bone mineral density (BMD) measurements are taken using a low dose radiation imaging technique (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry – DXA, DEXA), the results of which are compared with a given patient's peak bone mass.

In accordance with the WHO classification system, a person is suffering from osteoporosis if he/she has a BMD that is 2.5 standard deviations below their predetermined peak bone mass.

Outside of DEXA scanning and measuring the results against peak bone mass, a case of osteoporosis can also be diagnosed as a result of a "fragility fracture." Also referred to as osteoporotic or low trauma fractures, fragility fractures are defined as those caused as a result of a fall from standing height. A DEXA scan can often be used to verify a diagnosis of osteoporosis after discovery of a fragility fracture; however, the fracture itself is viewed to be proof enough of the development of the bone disease.


Treating Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis & Fosamax

Osteoporosis treatment options are somewhat limited after the onset of the bone disease; as such, doctors tend to stress prevention rather than treatment. There are, however, a number of drugs that are designed to combat the effects of osteoporosis and other types of bone diseases that cause a reduction in bone density levels; one such drug is Fosamax.

Fosamax is a type of bisphosphonate drug that is manufactured by Merck & Co. for the treatment of osteoporosis and osteitis deformans (Paget's disease). The brand name for alendronate, Fosamax was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995 and has since risen to become Merck's second best selling drug.

Fosamax treats osteoporosis by helping to reverse a reduction in bone density levels. The bisphosphonate drug targets certain cells that are responsible for causing bone loss, while simultaneously helping to promote an increase in overall bone mass.

Fosamax Side Effects

Although Fosamax has proven to be effective in treating certain bone diseases such as osteoporosis, it has been linked with the onset of a number of side effects, the most serious of which is the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).

Osteonecrosis of the jaw, or "dead jaw," is a serious Fosamax side effect that is linked with the temporary or permanent loss of blood flow to the jawbone tissue. This loss of blood culminates with the death of the jawbone tissue and eventual collapse of the bone itself — an excruciatingly painful ordeal. Although serious, Fosamax side effects are not life threatening. However, some drugs do have fatal side effects and if you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of others, attorneys for wrongful death can help you determine if you are entitled to file a wrongful death claim.

Fosamax Lawsuits

Osteonecrosis is typically associated with some of the body's larger joints, such as those attached to the hips, shoulders, knees or ankles. (Pelvis bone loss is a common issue.) More often than not, it is caused by a bone injury such as a fracture or dislocation.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw due to past or present Fosamax use, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Merck & Co. has already been targeted by a number of personal injury lawsuits aimed at punishing the company for its failure to adequately warn Fosamax users of the risks associated with use of the bisphosphonate drug. Contact a personal injury lawyer to obtain additional information about your rights as a Fosamax victim.

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