Millions of women in the U.S. that suffer from osteoporosis rely on bisphosphonates to slow bone loss. However, the FDA is currently investigating whether these medications, promoted to reduce the risk of fractures can actually increase the risk of hip fractures. These medications include:
- Actonel (risedronate)
- Aredia (pamidronate)
- Boniva (ibandronate)
- Fosomax (alendronate)
- Reclast (zoledronic acid)
- Zometa (zoledronic acid)
Most alarming is that the fractures being reported are not just among the elderly. Younger, active women are experiencing spontaneous fractures doing simple activities such as jumping rope. Hip fractures are extremely dangerous because of the high rate of mortality . The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that as many as 20% of hip fracture patients die within 6 months.
What are the Dangers of Taking These Drugs?
In October 2010, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that bisphosphonates used to treat osteoporosis, including Fosamax, Fosamax plus D, Actonel, Actonel with Calcium, Boniva, Atelvia, and Reclast, had been linked to two rare types of thigh fractures, known as subtrochanteric and diaphyseal femur fractures. A typical subtrochanteric femur fractures are fractures in the bone just below the hip joint. Diaphyseal femur fractures occur in the long part of the thigh bone. These fractures are very uncommon and appear to account for less than 1% of all hip and femur fractures overall. Although it is not clear if bisphosphonates are the cause, the FDA said in its alert that these unusual femur fractures have been predominantly reported in patients taking bisphosphonates. According to the FDA, these atypical fractures may be related to long-term term use of these drugs.
The FDA’s alert was issued after a study of more than 300 cases of such fractures found that 94% of the patients had taken bisphosphonates, and most had been on the drugs for five years or more. The study also found that more than half of the patients studied experienced groin or thigh pain for a period of weeks or months before their fractures. The study was conducted by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Subtrochanteric Femoral Fracture Task Force.
The FDA mandated that the drugs manufacturers include information regarding the possible association between the atypical thigh fractures and bisphosphonates in the Warnings and Precautions section of the drugs labels. More information on the FDA’s alert is available here.
Over the past several years, bisphosphonates have been associated with a number of side effects, including:
- Femur Fractures
- Osteonecrosis of the Jaw/Dead Jaw Syndrome
- Esophageal Cancer
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Severe Musculoskeletal Pain
Do I have an Osteoperosis Drug Lawsuit?
Slater Slater Schulman LLP is dedicated to the representation of plaintiffs in Osteoperosis drug lawsuits. Our firm is handling litigation related to these injuries nationwide.
If you or someone you love has taken Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast, Aredia or Zometa, you should contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP for a free consultation by filling out the form on this page or by calling us at (800) 251-6990.