Stop Using Fosamax, Actonel, Similar Drugs After Femur Fracture: Study

Individuals who have suffered a femur fracture while using Fosamax, Actonel or another bisphophonate medication can decrease their chances of having a second break if they simply stop taking the drug, according to new research. 

Findings presented Wednesday at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons indicate that the risk of suffering a second femur fracture drop significantly when people stop taking the osteoporosis drugs, which include Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast and Zometa. Another report found that such fractures tend to heal well, with most victims eventually reporting that they are pain free.

Such atypical femur fractures involve sudden breaks that typically occur with little or no trauma at all, such as while taking a step or falling from standing height.

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Researchers looked at 126 patients over a three year period who had suffered an atypical femur fracture while taking Fosamax or a similar bisphosphonate. They found that patients who stopped taking the drugs had only an 18% chance of suffering a second atypical femur fracture. Those who continued to use the drugs had a 25.8% chance of experiencing another atypical femur fracture in the first year, rising to a 53.8% chance after three years.

“We recommend discontinuing bisphosphonate use as soon as possible after the index atypical femur fracture has occurred,” the researchers concluded. They also recommended that patients with atypical femur fractures who are also at high risk of more typical hip or femur fractures be switched to an anabolic anti-osteoporosis medication in order to minimize the chance of suppression of bone turnover, which some believe is what causes Fosamax bone fractures.

Fosamax (alendronate sodium) is the most commonly used bisphosphonate medication in the United States, which was introduced by Merck in 1995. The medication generated over $3 billion in annual sales before it became available as a generic in 2008.

In October 2010, the FDA required warnings about the risk of thigh fractures from Fosamax and other bisphosphonate medications be placed on U.S. labels, but the decision was based off of preliminary findings. During a review of the potential Fosamax side effects, the FDA determined that the risk of fractures of the thigh bone may be connected to long-term use of bisphosphonates.

Merck & Co. currently faces hundreds of Fosamax fracture lawsuits that have been filed by individuals who claim the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the potential risk of problems. Complaints allege that side effects of Fosamax may weaken the ability of the femur bone to repair itself from microdamage, increasing the risk of a sudden femur fracture.

1 Comments

  • GladysFebruary 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I took Fosamax for a few years. as I have oserporsis. One year ago I had alot of problems with my teeth and gums. All of the dentistists would not work on mt teeth as they said if I had any pulling [which I did] They would not heal. I had to wait over a year to even get the tooth pulled that I needed to get pulled. All of the dentists told me that I had to have all of the Fosamax out of my system.[Show More]I took Fosamax for a few years. as I have oserporsis. One year ago I had alot of problems with my teeth and gums. All of the dentistists would not work on mt teeth as they said if I had any pulling [which I did] They would not heal. I had to wait over a year to even get the tooth pulled that I needed to get pulled. All of the dentists told me that I had to have all of the Fosamax out of my system. I also have been having terrible trouble with my legs and hip and back and my shoulders[ alot of pain] I am suspecting it is from the fosamax. I would like to hear from an attorney about this. I need to to it with E-mail as I am not able to hear over the phone. Thank you Gladys

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