How big is the risk of jaw necrosis f...

How big is the risk of jaw necrosis from taking biphosphonates ...

There are 48 comments on the NLH Question Answering Service story from May 16, 2006, titled How big is the risk of jaw necrosis from taking biphosphonates .... In it, NLH Question Answering Service reports that:

Much of the literature we found related to the use of bisphosphonates in treating bone metastases .

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Oakland, CA

#22 Oct 24, 2008
phil wrote:
if you feel you have experienced a side effect, go to and fill out a free case evaluation, the lawyers there can really help you out.
I'm a lawyer. Don't waste your time. Law firms won't help you with your symptoms! Focus on getting healthy, not angry. I've taken the drug for 5 years, and have recently taken myself off of it for a variety of symptoms that are problematical with this drug.


#23 Jul 7, 2009
I started taking Fosamax about 3 years ago. I had difficulty remembering to take it every week so I switched to boniva. I also was non comp;iant with the bonivia so I had the once a year I V medication. Prior to starting the Reclast, I had two incidences of jaw pain with bone protruding. These went away and i didnt think much more about them. Two months after starting the reclast i have been diagonsised with necrosis of the jaw. My oral surgeon says there is not much that can be done other then to take antibiotics and hope for the best. He says this will probably be a life long problem. I had no idea that the possible side effects would be so serious and not be treatable. Now that i have had the IV medication this process will continue for 10 more months. I am basically screwed. My doctor mentioned a possible side effect was some jaw problems. She never said how serious these problems might be. If I had it to do over i would never have considered taking this medication. Be careful everyone is responsible for their own health. Un fortunatly you cant trust your health care providers to give you all the infornation you need.

Scottsdale, AZ

#24 Mar 18, 2010
Two oral surgeons have refused to perform much-needed surgery because 1)I have taken Fosomax, later Boniva for years, and 2) The blood test showed a low level of Collagen Type I Telopeptide. Both dentists insisted that I stay off the drug for 3 mos. and retest. My fear is there will be no improvement as I was off Boniva for 3 mos. when the test was done. Is there any way to build up the level of Telopeptide?

Sparrows Point, MD

#25 May 12, 2010
John Kutlich wrote:
Nice to see hard numbers instead of vague warnings. But still vague. So the risk is between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 1,000. But is that the risk for one person for the rest of his life, or the annual occurance per patient, or something else?
John, Did you ever get a response to your comment?

Faridabad, India

#26 May 17, 2010
I have Pagets Disease and it is treated with Fosomax. I recently found out that I need a wisdom tooth pulled. I spoke to my Dentist and he was aware of the risk of necrosis of the jaw. He recomended a blood test called CTX which is suppose to help determine if I am at risk for necrosis of the jaw. I have stopped taking Fosomax due to the CTX results. After 3 months I took another CTX blood test and based on the results should be OK to proceed withe the tooth extraction. Only time will tell if it was the right decission
Charlotte Missouri

Chesterfield, MO

#27 Aug 23, 2010
I took fosamax for 5 years. I didn't know about the dental side effects until 2 years ago. Since then I have had numerous problems. One abscess after another, mouth infections, etc. I finally lost all of my upper teeth (to stop the infections)
To my surprise the infections continued. After several courses of antibiotis, which didn't help, I had surgery this morning on my gums. They cut and peeled back the gum to expose my jawbone. The infection was in the bone and a portion of my gums had never healed after the extractions. They cut out part of the gum and part of the jawbone and hopefully got all of the infection. I am back on antibiotics and only time will tell if they got it all. I would have never taken
fosamax had I known what all it did!!!!!!!!
Marilyn Novack


#28 Sep 11, 2010
John Kutlich wrote:
Nice to see hard numbers instead of vague warnings. But still vague. So the risk is between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 1,000. But is that the risk for one person for the rest of his life, or the annual occurance per patient, or something else?
I read where they have a multi million dollar lawsuit against many of the companies that put out fosamax boniva etc etc one woman received 6 million dollars
I would not chance loosing my jaw !! oh my God - thats horrible and I guess you die when this happens - how do you live with no jaw bone. this is so sad.

Mission Viejo, CA

#29 Feb 20, 2011
I am a cancer patient and for about eight months have been on.....forgot name..but iv style. First, my mouth went numb and two teeth are merging together
So,I'm taking my cancer butt over to an oral surgeon right away. Mo sores, no bone poking, just numbness
On chin which got worse and nothing was seen on ct scan, also, my doc are demanding an MRI
After this too. Scared. I have a lot of scared, but I'm tired of them. Thanks
See your dentist and if you have no cash go to community hospital that can't turn u away and demand to see oral surgeon.

Lawrenceville, GA

#30 Feb 21, 2011
I have osteoporosis and have been encouraged and threatened and otherwise arm twisted to take bisphosphonates. I have so far refused. And miraculously, my bones have improved by walking, eliminating all soft drinks, taking Vitamin D in moderate doses. I'm still osteoporotic, but I have made slight gains in bone density over the past two years. The forum, linked to the National Osteoporosis site, is an excellent discussion forum with many more links to studies and the like. The dangers of the bisphosphonates, particularly the IV ones like Boniva and Reclast, cannot be stressed enough.
Mike of New Yawk

Brooklyn, NY

#32 Jun 5, 2011
My wife is on Forteo , when we spoke to
our Dentist about Biphosphonates it was not advised
to do so.
She has too many post biphosphonte patients
with teeth breaking suddendly .
The Rheumatologist now wants my wife on Reclast drip, now I
am wondering if this is as bad as Fosomex?
My wife has a brain disease (PD) where she fall's down often so she needs some help with her severe Osteo,any comments would be helpful.

Loyalton, CA

#33 Jun 19, 2011
I read of one study of 208 dental patients at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, in which 4% of the dental patients taking oral Fosamax had osteonecrosis of the jaw. All were women, average age 73 years, who had been taking the drug for 12 months or longer. All had suffered dental trauma--with a tooth extraction or ill-fitting dentures that resulted in jawbone exposure. Four percent of 200 patients would be about 1 case for every twenty five patients who had been taking Fosamax for more than a year. That seems rather scary to me

San Juan, Puerto Rico

#34 Aug 6, 2011
I am 80 years old. I am a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor. Prior to that I had been treated for postmenopausal osteoporosis with Fosamax and other bisphophonates. After the cancer, I was treated with Forteo for severe osteoporosis and later with Reclast intravenously once a year. If I have my doses in November it will be my fifth and probably last year of treatment.
However two years ago I had a root canal which was still giving me problems a year later. I finally had a tooth extraction. Now the molar next to it is giving me problems. Nothing can be seen from the outside, but the discomfort is there and resembles the problems I was having with the previous molar.
My concern is to find out if its the Reclast which is causing this maxilar bone problem. Maybe I should not take my last doses. If anyone can shed some light on this issue, it would be greatly appreciated.

San Jose, CA

#36 Oct 13, 2011
Based on the statement made by Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, occurence of osteonecrosis of the jaw related to the drug is somewhere between 1.6 to 3.4 out of every 100000 patients taking Fosamax. However, the number of people filing a suit against Merck seem to exceed those numbers.

Chicago, IL

#37 Nov 25, 2011
ONJ is a rare side effect of Fosamax use. It can possibly happen one in out of every 3 million or around . 024 percent. However these documented cases have filed a Fosamax Lawsuit.

New York, NY

#39 Jan 6, 2012
Fosamax, a bisphosphonate drug, is allegedly causing abnormal bone injuries such as fractures dislocations and even osteonecrosis which is characterized by the dysfunction of the jaw bone. Any of these conditions can result in severe pain in extreme levels according to some reported cases. The supposed effect of this drug is to treat and prevent osteoporosis. Related information here: .

Columbus, OH

#40 Aug 2, 2012
Take the warnings very seriously. I was just diagnosed with osteonecrosis of the jaw. I took my doctor's advice without question. I have been taking fosomax and actonel for a very long time. This is a very scary diagnosis. I hear that the warnings came out 7 or 8 years ago. Unfortunately, my doctor did not mention any of this to me as the scripts just continued to be written.

Maury City, TN

#41 Aug 2, 2012
Sherry wrote:
<quoted text>I have also been taking Actonel for 2 years and just had a tooth extracted from my lower jaw. My dentist and doctor were both extremely worried due to my taking the Actonel. I am now off the Actonel and am waiting for my jaw to heal. The oral surgeon said the only way to know for sure is to get an expensive blood test, but as long as I am healing without any pain in my jaw or ear, it should be OK. She said taking the drug over 3 years makes it a much higher risk.
I worked for a dentist, we would not do extractions on patients who have taken these medicines without first placing them on antibiotics.
Naryl D

Brooklyn, NY

#42 Aug 3, 2012
The risk for developing dead jaw syndrome or osteonecrosis of the jaw is still considered lower than the statistical average for other complications related to Fosamax use despite its likelihood of increasing risk when taking the drug compared to other possible causes for getting it according to medical experts and research studies.
Pauline Thomas


#43 Aug 4, 2012
I live in England. I have a son with learning disablities who has been taking carbamazepine and lamotrogine for many years for his controlled epilepsy. He has now been diagnosed with osteoporosis and luekopenia (low white blood count). It appears that these drugs (which are also prescribed as mood enhancers) can give you bone loss as well as lowering your white blood cells. His consultant is now wanting to give him Alendronic Acid to treat his bone loss, but I am terrified that he will get necrosis of the jaw or have oesophaghus problems. He could force us to agree under the Mental Capacity Act, but we argue that my son's quality of life will be greatly diminished. What do others think?

New York, NY

#44 Aug 10, 2012
It is somehow ironic that drugs designed to help build bones may affect another bone. Osteonecrosis could be as debilitating and as damaging as osteoporosis itself. It is disheartening to know that osteonecrosis may be brought about the very medications you are taking against osteoporosis. Visit this site for additional information regarding Fosamax and its link to osteonecrosis.

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