February 2018
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Afflicting more than 10 million Americans with another 34 million at risk, the remedy for osteoporosis is an essential medical intervention. When the reports about Fosamax and other bisphosphonates causing serious adverse effects arose, the demand for a different medication also skyrockets. On the other hand, there are reports that bisphosphonates may be a good breast cancer treatment

fosamax side effects
Even though bisphosphonates are still the first line of treatment for osteoporosis, many other approaches for treating this brittle bone disease have been made especially for those contraindicated with bisphosphonates. Other conventional therapies that are next in line focus more on the replacement of certain hormones. These substitute medicaments are also becoming popular in reversing the effects of osteoporosis on the bones.

Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Before the breakthrough of bisphosphonates in medical science, hormonal replacement method is the most preferred approach towards managing osteoporosis. Women, particularly those who have passed menopause, are often prescribed with either estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestin, which are known to prevent bone resorption and diminish the risk of fracture. Unfortunately, a study in July 2002 has become the turning point of events as it revealed the significant increase of risk of morbid diseases such as breast cancer, heart disease and stroke in some women.

Evista (raloxifene)

Evista is a drug under selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) class which acts like an estrogen on the bones but acts otherwise on the uterus and the breasts. Unlike HRT, raloxifene does not increase one's risk of breast cancer. However, it shows that this drug furthers the formation of clots in the veins and lungs.

Protelos (strontium ranelate)

In the constant bone remodeling cycle, strontium ranelate functions by preventing the loss of calcium from the bones during bone resorption while stimulating the formation of new bones which is done by bone cells known as osteoblasts. This is a prescription drug given to women with osteoporosis who are at the menopausal stage. Unfortunately, this drug is only sold in Europe and is yet to be permitted by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.

While there are several pharmaceutical interventions available for treating osteoporosis, it is best to confer with your doctor to find out the treatment that fits your condition. Approaches in fighting osteoporosis are not solely depending on bisphosphonates like Fosamax. This means that you may not have to put yourself at risk of having serious Fosamax side effects which have been the basis for some people filing a lawsuit against the drug's manufacturer.

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Fosamax, alendronate on it generic version, is a bisphosphonate that acts on the cycle of bone formation to slow down bone loss while at the same time improving bone strength. Thus, the risk of fracture is decreased in patients suffering from osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the thinning of the bones and loss of bone density over time. But now, however, evidence showing that taking Fosamax or alendronate for some women for more than five years may cause spontaneous fractures to continue to increase.

In 2008, a study, which was published on the May/June issue of the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma, found a femur fracture pattern that was 98% to Fosamax users.  This could have been a very reliable source but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it needs further investigation on the link of the long-term use of Fosamax to femoral fracture before it makes its final statement.

In connection with the painful spontaneous fracture of the femur, osteonecreosis of the jaw (also known as ONJ, Dead Jaw or Bis-Phossy Jaw), is another malformation condition that has been linked to the long-term use of Fosamax. ONJ is usually detected during dental procedures such as tooth extraction. Osteonecrosis is the death of a bone due to inadequate blood supply.    In recent studies, more bone diseases, osteonecrosis of the hip as well and osteonecrosis of the shoulder and of the knee, were revealed.  Apparently, Merck is already aware about the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw, however, it failed to do anything to warn its patients, doctors and dentists about the dangers of Fosamax use.

Since the dawn of its approval by the FDA on October 1995, the drug became the first non-hormonal therapy treatment for women with postmenopausal osteoporosis in the United States.   Currently, Fosamax and Fosamax Plus D are the most prescribed medicine for osteoporosis wherein nearly 20 million patients have been taking the drug. Furthermore, as of 2005, Fosamax has averaged sales of at least $3 billion a year for Merck.  Looking at the statistics of Fosamax, a lot of people might be in danger of fracture or osteonecrosis in the near future.

While Fosamax is the prescribed medication to treat osteoporosis and reduce the risk of hip as well as long bone fractures, its mechanism of action, which prevents bone resorption, makes some users vulnerable to certain types of bone break.


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