Fosamax is a drug prescribed for men and women with problems of osteoporosis, Pagetís disease of the bone, and those who are taking steroids. It belongs to a class of drugs known as biphosphonates, which were originally developed and marketed by pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.
The drug must be taken sitting upright upon rising in the morning, 30 minutes before meals with plain water and no other drugs including vitamins, calcium or antacids. Aside from these strict precautions with taking the drug, possible side-effects include:
- allergic reactions (get emergency medical help)
- chest pain
- difficulty or pain swallowing
- pain or burning under the ribs or back
- new or worsening heartburn
- severe joint, bone, or muscle pain
- jaw pain and/or numbness
Anyone taking this medication must inform their physician if they have any of the following possible complications:
- Trouble swallowing
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Dental problems
- Kidney disease
- Ulcer in the esophagus and/or stomach
- Pregnant (classified Pregnancy category C)
- Low calcium levels in the blood
Patients should follow all instructions with taking and stopping this medication.
There is particular emphasis on a medical note stating that taking Fosamax has strong links with causing degeneration of the jaw known as osteonecrosis of the jaw. This is characterized by bleeding gums, swelling, jaw pain, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection or slow healing of gums from dental operative procedures or injuries. There have been many legal investigations linking biphosphonates to many cases of increased osteonecrosis of the jaw.
A few years ago there have been thousands of allegations and investigations into connections between biphosphonates and increased incidences of severe osteoporosis in patients prescribed with the drug leading to fractures. A particular case study for these allegations zeroes in on the popularly prescribed drug Fosamax. Many people who had been taking the drug for many years (at least a minimum of five years) in such cases have reported bone fractures resulting from low stress exercises (i.e. slow walking, climbing stairs, jumping, etc.) which the drug was supposed to prevent.
Further information and investigations regarding the outcome of whether this drug will continue, and it will still be marketed as drug to treat osteoporosis. However, drug labels have been amended since 2004 to include the possible side-effects: †that taking Fosamax may cause osteonecrosis of the jaw. Anyone taking this drug should ask their physicianís of these two possible side-effects before deciding to take it.