Fosamax Health Risks Questioned

Fosamax Health Risks Questioned

There are 104 comments on the WEAR TV3 story from Apr 26, 2006, titled Fosamax Health Risks Questioned. In it, WEAR TV3 reports that:

A local man is among the hundreds now suing the Merck Pharmaceutical Company over a best selling drug for Osteoporosis.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WEAR TV3.

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Harvey Wonder

Plymouth Meeting, PA

#1 May 13, 2006
I was on Fosamax for several months-I was thinking I was getting relief--but on the day I took the Fosamax it made me sick. then next 6 days was fine. my white blood cells dropped extremely low-to danger point-I am a V.A. Patient also on medication, thr Dr.'s
were uncertain as to what was causing drop in white blood cells, they suggested for me to discontinue the Fosamax and within a week or 10 days my white cells came up to normal, I felt that Fosamax was a good drug but for some reason I could not telerate the Fosamax, this is not a complaint but I am sure you would like different comments.
Ann Pike

United States

#2 May 16, 2006
I have been taking fosamax for 4 years because my mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am 65, have had no noticeable side effects from the medication, take no other medication, but I am beginning to wonder about the long-term effects of this chemical. Does anybody (who's not connected to a drug company) have any insights or reliabe info. on fosamas?
Mark Gallaher_ DDS

Maidens, VA

#3 May 17, 2006
Ann Pike wrote:
I have been taking fosamax for 4 years because my mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am 65, have had no noticeable side effects from the medication, take no other medication, but I am beginning to wonder about the long-term effects of this chemical. Does anybody (who's not connected to a drug company) have any insights or reliabe info. on fosamas?
In over 20 years of dental practice I have seen exactly one case of localized osteonecrosis of the jaw, and that was following an extraction of a tooth. That patient did not have osteoporosis, and therefore was not taking the drug(s) in question.
So far one lawsuit has become the drop of blood in the water and the sharks are circling in....
So far most of what I have read are website postings by lawyers soliciting clients for a lawsuit against Merck. One of the news stories about this quoted the lawyer who filed the initial lawsuit, that he deduced that Fossamax was the culprit because his client had no other risk factors. Not very scientific and it seems that this is one lawyer who is not a Doctor, but plays one in his law practice.
While it's not impossible that there may be a link- it is to early to assign blame where there is NO evidence yet except a lawyer's guess. There are other risk factors that can encourage the development of such a condition. Excessive alcolhol consumption and smoking are just two.
Lawyers have asserted similar things about other drugs and medical implants that later turn out to be totally false. And who pays for that -all of us. The costs of these lawsuits result in higher prices for medical items and drugs. Only the lawyers end up clear winners.
I suggest you take a deep breath- consult with your physician and or dentist to get the straight scoop on what's out there.
Chris

Australia

#5 May 28, 2006
Harvey Wonder wrote:
I was on Fosamax for several months-I was thinking I was getting relief--but on the day I took the Fosamax it made me sick. then next 6 days was fine. my white blood cells dropped extremely low-to danger point-I am a V.A. Patient also on medication, thr Dr.'s
were uncertain as to what was causing drop in white blood cells, they suggested for me to discontinue the Fosamax and within a week or 10 days my white cells came up to normal, I felt that Fosamax was a good drug but for some reason I could not telerate the Fosamax, this is not a complaint but I am sure you would like different comments.
Hi my mother has been on fosamax for a several months now and i was wondering about your comment as i am not sure if it is related to fosamax but she has a lowering in her neutrophil count. Was the drop in your white blood cell count a general drop in all white blood cell counts or was it also fairly specific neutrophil count? Apparently some virus's also lead to these symptoms but i thought i would just check as she has also been feeling sick.
Thanks
Margrit

Colombier, Switzerland

#6 May 30, 2006
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2005/11/some-are-...

Fortical sounds like the best way to start. I am 53 and just diagnosed with osteopenia. I did some research and learned that Fortical (Calcitonin Salmon) is the most natural, safest way to protect my bones from further detioration. I am fearful about going on Fosamax now because I could be on it for the rest of my life...could be 20- 30+ years...who knows what the long term effects could be. That stuff stays in the bone forever...nothing can get rid of it...It acts like Thompson's Waterseal coating the bone, can cause hypermineralization...interfer es with natural bone remodeling, unlike calcitonin that the body makes...The calcitonin in Fortical is about 40%+ more potent.

# posted by Anonymous : 11:14 PM

Why aren't Doctors prescribing Fortical. All the woman I know are on either Fosamax, Actonel, or Boniva. I am afraid of the side effects of all three. Does Actonel and Boniva have the same problems with the jaw as well.
I would like to try Fortical. Does Fortical contain seafood? I used to be allergic to shellfish.
I have just been diagnosed with Osteoporosis of the spine. minus 2.7. I am 63 years young. I was told by my GYN to take Fosamax and the more research I do, the more I don't know what to do.
Please give me some feed back.

# posted by Anonymous : 12:07 AM

The reason there is more Osteonecrosis of the jaw than anywhere else in the body is probably due to the fact that the rate of bone turnover in the jaw is every 2 years vs. every 10 years in the other bones of the body. All bones are not the same!

# posted by Anonymous : 7:21 PM

The rate of turnover may be different but that doesn't preclude the strong possibility of the drug causing ON elsewhere, especially if the patient has been on it for a long time. The physiology of bone is essentally the same, therefore being open to similar destructive processes. Why exclude the possibility if no other risk factor is present, and especially when the ON is found in more than one site.
Patricia Bradley

Washington, DC

#7 Jun 1, 2006
Mark Gallaher_ DDS wrote:
<quoted text>
In over 20 years of dental practice I have seen exactly one case of localized osteonecrosis of the jaw, and that was following an extraction of a tooth. That patient did not have osteoporosis, and therefore was not taking the drug(s) in question.
So far one lawsuit has become the drop of blood in the water and the sharks are circling in....
So far most of what I have read are website postings by lawyers soliciting clients for a lawsuit against Merck. One of the news stories about this quoted the lawyer who filed the initial lawsuit, that he deduced that Fossamax was the culprit because his client had no other risk factors. Not very scientific and it seems that this is one lawyer who is not a Doctor, but plays one in his law practice.
While it's not impossible that there may be a link- it is to early to assign blame where there is NO evidence yet except a lawyer's guess. There are other risk factors that can encourage the development of such a condition. Excessive alcolhol consumption and smoking are just two.
Lawyers have asserted similar things about other drugs and medical implants that later turn out to be totally false. And who pays for that -all of us. The costs of these lawsuits result in higher prices for medical items and drugs. Only the lawyers end up clear winners.
I suggest you take a deep breath- consult with your physician and or dentist to get the straight scoop on what's out there.
Thanks for the encouraging news. I was just diagnosed with mild osteoporosis and have been struggling with the decision to take HRT or fosamax. I am 56. Dr. suggested Fosamax but because of the recent scare I was concerned about beginning the drug Fosamax. My dentist pretty much said the same as you. And IF there is a link, there are very few actual case of "rotting jaw" compared to side effects with HRT. HRT side effect studies have been documented and plenty cause for concern in my opinion. Though initially doubtful re Fosamax, it truly was helpful to read your remarks confirming what my dentist said, as well as my internist. I'm going for the Fosamax and hope this is all lawyer hype. Thanks for taking the time to share important info.
Linda Fisher

Fort Worth, TX

#8 Jun 7, 2006
I have been on Fosamax for one year and went back for a bone density test to measure the improvements and found that there weren't any, as if I had never been on it. At the same time I was diagnosed with gall stones and have had no family history of gall bladder problems, I am not over weight and do not eat fried foods. The doctor had no explanation as to why I would have the stones. Upon talking with a nurtritionist, she connected the the two thinking that my body didn't metabolize the Fosamax properly and sent an over load to the bladder. Has anyone else experienced this same situation? I am curious.
anonymous

East Hampton, CT

#9 Jun 25, 2006
Dr. Mark Gallaher minimizes the risk of Fosamax, saying that he has seen only one questionable case of jaw necrosis in twenty years and that most of what he has read has been posted by lawyers. A cursory visit to Google, entering "fosamax" and "necrosis" in the search field should introduce some concern. For example, clicking on the fifth entry would bring up the following site:

http://www.aofoundation.org/portal/AOFileServ...
There are additional studies by Dental Surgeons reporting the same phenomenom for those who will search.
anonymous

Montréal, Canada

#10 Jun 25, 2006
Anybody with osteporosis should look into Fortical. It is a calcitonin spray. Calcitonin has long history of use with on health risks. It not only is an FDA approved osteoporosis drug, it also may soon be indicated for the cure and pain of osteoarthritis, i.e, it relieves pain and helps build cartiliage. The companies involved are Novartis and Unigene.
S Breashears

AOL

#11 Jun 26, 2006
I had taken Fosamax for only a month when I began having severe joint pain. My doctor suggested weight bearing exercise and trying to work through the pain as well as prescribing an arthritis medication. So now I am drug for something that didn't cause pain, which in turn is creating severe pain in addition to a drug to make the other drug stop hurting me. I continued the drug eventually ending up barely able to walk, get in or out of the car, and unable to even carry my purse. I ended up discontinuing the drug and landed in painful physical therapy for six months. In addition to the joint pain I began having migrain headaches which I never had in my life. Each Sunday when I would take the Fosamax I would be sick to my stomach and have such a severe migrain I could not open my eyes or be in a lighted room. On some days the headache even caused vomiting. I discussed this with my doctor and she did not associate the migrain with the Fosamax and prescribed migrain medication. Now I have three seperate medications, in pain and sick. None of which I had prior to the Fosamax. I quit the medication, worked with physical therapy until the pain subsided, and never had another migrain. That was several years ago. I still have osteoperosis but eat a balanced diet, take high calcium supplements, and vitamins. My bone scans only show a slight density increach each year but no additional losses. I am 53, not on the drug, and feel fine.
Donna

Stone Mountain, GA

#12 Jun 27, 2006
I've been on Fosomax for 5 years. I recently had a physical and my FMD ordered a CBC and diff. My WBC count was 2.9. The last WBC I had was in 1995 and it was 5.5. I have asked my GYN and FMD if they thought the Fosomax could be causing this lo WBC count, and they both said no. But I continue to have my doubts. No other s/s, and the rest of my WBC count is good. Do I get another opinion??
adam

Zurich, Switzerland

#13 Jun 28, 2006
Video released by the fda about "Caution on Osteonecrosis with Bisphosphonates" already in 2004. But at that time only intravenous versions like Aredia. Now it looks like the oral version (actonel, fosamax, boniva) cause the same troubles.

http://www.connectlive.com/events/fdatv/fda-s...
Liz

Glendale, CA

#14 Jul 2, 2006
They've known about this for a while. Phosphorous, an ingredient in Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel, is linked to jaw necrosis. In the 19th century workers in match factories who were exposed to white phosphorous and ended up with "phossy jaw," or jaw necrosis. Despite the fact that many doctors are towing the party line that these drugs are "safe and effective," there are others who are telling their patients the truth:

http://gotbones.healthdiaries.com
Renee

Brantford, Canada

#15 Jul 9, 2006
I have been taking fosamax for about a year, and I have had an occasional problem swallowing, the esophagus literally freezes/squeezes, and will not allow me to swallow what I am eating, it's painful, it feels like I am choking, and it's very scary. Sometimes I throw right up when this happens, other times a bit of water will control the spasm like contraction. This never happened before taking fosamax. My Doctor does not think this is due to the fosamax, as I am taking it only once a week. Recently, I started to have migraines also, and it's either the day I take the drug or the day after that I experience this. I have also heard people have suffered eye and heart problems as well as bone necrosis in the jaw, I am scared to continue taking this drug, and would prefer to go the natural route to treat my osteoporosis, which is quite mild! These side effects are quite extreme!
Gayle

Panama City, FL

#16 Jul 12, 2006
Patricia Bradley wrote:
<quoted text> Thanks for the encouraging news. I was just diagnosed with mild osteoporosis and have been struggling with the decision to take HRT or fosamax. I am 56. Dr. suggested Fosamax but because of the recent scare I was concerned about beginning the drug Fosamax. My dentist pretty much said the same as you. And IF there is a link, there are very few actual case of "rotting jaw" compared to side effects with HRT. HRT side effect studies have been documented and plenty cause for concern in my opinion. Though initially doubtful re Fosamax, it truly was helpful to read your remarks confirming what my dentist said, as well as my internist. I'm going for the Fosamax and hope this is all lawyer hype. Thanks for taking the time to share important info.
Patricia, I live in Tallahassee, Florida. I've been taking Fosamax for 3-1/2 years. I alternate between a dentist and periodontist four times a year. None of the periodontists here are performing oral surgery on anyone taking Fosamax (intravenous or oral) at this time. Further, my dentist will not perform extractions on anyone taking Fosamax in any form. I have not taken Fosamax since I learned this and started researching the issue in late May 2006, and discovered some other formerly unexplained side effects in common with others taking it. Hope this helps.
Margaret Johnson

Stockton, CA

#17 Jul 18, 2006
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis five years ago following a bone scan and began taking Fosamax. I had a follow-up bone scan this year and it shows improvement. I have not had any problems taking the one-a-week pill. Hearing about the problems some have, I consulted my physician and she reassured me but also gave me 4 weeks of Evista samples to try instead of Fosamax. My conclusion is I prefer the convenience of one-a-week Fosamax.
Taylor Richard

Agoura Hills, CA

#18 Aug 1, 2006
Ann Pike wrote:
I have been taking fosamax for 4 years because my mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am 65, have had no noticeable side effects from the medication, take no other medication, but I am beginning to wonder about the long-term effects of this chemical. Does anybody (who's not connected to a drug company) have any insights or reliabe info. on fosamas?
I have a mother who just turned 80' She had been taking fosamax for almost two years. A few months ago her dentist suggested to remove two teeth as the x-ray showed some abnormality and replace them with implants. The extractions resulted in infection bone breakdown and mind you she had had no pain whatever with her teeth. in the subsequent months both implants have fallen out. You be the judge. As for me I have NO DOUBT the fosamax was responsible.
Susan

Oxnard, CA

#19 Aug 1, 2006
I was on Actonel for 2 years. I didn't like the side effects I was seeing. I would occasionally cough up blood and would experience piercing migraines out of nowhere. I finally made the switch to alternative therapies such as strontium and herbal based products. I'm currently on Osteosine and Biocalth.

www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsConditions/Osteoporosi...
https://www.biocalth.com/
http://www.nulivlifestyle.com/osteosine.html
yrsmith

San Francisco, CA

#20 Aug 2, 2006
I am a 77 year old woman. I have osteopenia and was prescribed Fosamax. I have been on Fosamax 5 years. Cavities were discovered in both my lower wisdom teeth. One of them can be filled, the other would have to be extracted. I have received confusing advice. One oral surgeon would not take me as a patient. Another dentist said it would be alright. I need to know whom to consult to get the best medical information as of July, 2006. Can someone please respond to this.
Thank you,
Yolanda Smith
Nancy

United States

#21 Aug 4, 2006
Margrit wrote:
http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/20 05/11/some-are-stopping-fosama x-and-other.html
Fortical sounds like the best way to start. I am 53 and just diagnosed with osteopenia. I did some research and learned that Fortical (Calcitonin Salmon) is the most natural, safest way to protect my bones from further detioration. I am fearful about going on Fosamax now because I could be on it for the rest of my life...could be 20- 30+ years...who knows what the long term effects could be. That stuff stays in the bone forever...nothing can get rid of it...It acts like Thompson's Waterseal coating the bone, can cause hypermineralization...interfer es with natural bone remodeling, unlike calcitonin that the body makes...The calcitonin in Fortical is about 40%+ more potent.
# posted by Anonymous : 11:14 PM
Why aren't Doctors prescribing Fortical. All the woman I know are on either Fosamax, Actonel, or Boniva. I am afraid of the side effects of all three. Does Actonel and Boniva have the same problems with the jaw as well.
I would like to try Fortical. Does Fortical contain seafood? I used to be allergic to shellfish.
I have just been diagnosed with Osteoporosis of the spine. minus 2.7. I am 63 years young. I was told by my GYN to take Fosamax and the more research I do, the more I don't know what to do.
Please give me some feed back.
# posted by Anonymous : 12:07 AM
The reason there is more Osteonecrosis of the jaw than anywhere else in the body is probably due to the fact that the rate of bone turnover in the jaw is every 2 years vs. every 10 years in the other bones of the body. All bones are not the same!
# posted by Anonymous : 7:21 PM
The rate of turnover may be different but that doesn't preclude the strong possibility of the drug causing ON elsewhere, especially if the patient has been on it for a long time. The physiology of bone is essentally the same, therefore being open to similar destructive processes. Why exclude the possibility if no other risk factor is present, and especially when the ON is found in more than one site.
I had to laugh at your message...."I am fearful about going on Fosamax now because I could be on it for the rest of my life--could be 20-30 years. Who knows what the long term effects could be." If you are 53 now, you will be 83 then. The "long term effects" ...well...death, maybe? Use the best, most reliable information you can, but don't speculate. My advice is to stay off the internet, unless you can get to refereed, evidence based studies/articles in professional journals.

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