Fosamax is the brand name for alendronate, a type of bisphosphonate drug that is used in the treatment of a number of bone diseases, notably osteoporosis and osteitis deformans (Paget's disease).
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995, Fosamax is manufactured by Merck & Co. With 2005 revenues exceeding $3 Billion, Fosamax is Merck & Co's second best-selling drug on the market. The fact that the drug has recently been linked with the onset of a serious bone condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) could spell disaster for Merck, who are currently involved in litigation surrounding Vioxx.
In addition to the somewhat common and relatively mild side effects (headache, nausea, abdominal discomfort, rash, etc.) that are associated with the use of Fosamax, users face the risk of developing a serious condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw, or "dead jaw." Fosamax users suffering from ONJ are susceptible to severe infections that can cause facial discomfort, numbness or extreme pain. Swelling of the gums and poor gum health can also be caused as a result of ONJ.
Osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis, aseptic necrosis, ischemic necrosis) is a type of bone disease that affects approximately 10,000 to 20,000 Americans each year. It commonly results from a temporary / permanent loss of blood flow to the bones. Without an adequate supply of blood, bone tissue cannot survive and will eventually die and lead to joint collapse.
The process of diagnosing osteonecrosis typically begins with a number of painful symptoms that lead a sufferer to consult an orthopaedist, a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. The most common osteonecrosis symptom is severe and chronic joint pain that is not unlike that suffered by arthritics. Although the time period between the initial onset of joint pain and the loss of joint functionality varies from one osteonecrosis sufferer to the next, it usually takes no longer than one year.
If a case of osteonecrosis goes undetected and/or untreated, it can eventually cause a great deal of arthritic pain while the joint surface erodes and the bone gradually collapses.
In order to determine whether someone eliciting symptoms of osteonecrosis is in fact suffering from a case of the rare bone disease, a complete physical examination is performed (functional evaluation of the bone) in addition to an evaluation of a patient's medical history. Any number of bone imaging techniques (X ray, MRI, CT scan, bone scan) are eventually employed in order to determine whether signs of osteonecrosis are present.
In addition to bone imaging techniques and physical functionality examinations, an orthopaedist may also request the surgical biopsy of bone tissue to determine whether it is receiving an adequate supply of blood.
Merck & Co. are already facing a great deal of litigation in regards to injuries caused as a result of using Fosamax. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is an incredibly dangerous bone disease that can cause a great deal of pain in addition to facial deformities that result from death of the jawbone.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using Fosamax, you may be entitled to receive compensation from Merck & Co. The Law Offices of Justice Lawyers boast a highly experienced staff of personal injury attorneys who are adept at handling litigation related to Fosamax side effects. Contact the Law Offices of Justice Lawyers today to get information about osteonecrosis of the jaw and Fosamax victims' rights.
The attorneys of the Law Office of Justice Lawyers are Pensacola personal injury attorneys who protect victims of auto accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, defective drugs, consumer fraud, insurance fraud, product defects and defective medical devices, such as Guidant and Medtronic Pacemakers, and potentially harmful drugs, such as Ortho Evra. When you think of the top personal injury lawyers or car accident lawyers in Pensacola, think of Justice Lawyers.