Fosamax FAQ

Q:  What is Fosamax?

A:  Fosamax, derived from alendronate sodium, refers to a prescription drug which used to prevent or cure osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and treats osteoporosis in men.  Fosamax is also use for treatment of Paget’s illness. Fosamax stops the occurrence of bone breakdown and enhances bone density or thickness for stronger bones and will not easily break. Fosamax is a bisphosphonate drug which is manufactured by Merck and Company Inc and was granted approval in 1999 by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Q:  What is osteoporosis?

A:  Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by the thinning of the bones, thus, making it easily break and weak. Osteoporosis may have natural causes or may be in men and women who have  taken the corticosteroids.

Q:  What is Paget’s illness?

A:  Paget’s illness is a medical condition where the body substitutes the healthy bones with weak bones.

Q:  Is there any special instructions for taking Fosamax?

A:  Fosamax should be taken orally on an empty stomach with a full glass or 6 to 8 ounces of plain water, and at least 30 minutes before taking any food, drink, or medicine. Avoid lying down for at least 30 minutes after taking Fosamax.

Q:  Is there any updates or recent news about Fosamax?

A:  There were some recent reports associating Fosamax to some severe side effects known as Osteonecrosis of the Jaw or ONJ or “jaw death.” ONJ is a medical condition where the jawbone partly collapses and dies. ONJ can result to chronic pain, loose teeth, exposed bone, loss of function, and even disfigurement. Merck and Company Inc, the manufacturer of Fosamax claimed that ONJ is uncommon, and during controlled clinical trials with more than 17,000 patients, there were no ONJ occurrences. Most of the researchers and physicians interviewed in latest news reports that seem to  believe that the benefits of bisphosphonate medicines outweighed the probable risks, and they would continue prescribing these medicines to patients.

Q:  What are the side effects linked with Fosamax?

A:  The common side effects linked with Fosamax is abdominal pain. Less common side effects includes:

  • Difficulty or pain in swallowing
  • New or worsening heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting, with blood or vomit that appears like coffee grounds
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Mouth sores or pain in the mouth
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Eye pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Irritation or pain of the esophagus
  • Muscle pain

Skin rashes are uncommon side effect but may become severe and worsen with exposure to sunlight.

Other minor side effects which may not need medical attention, unless these symptoms are persistent or bothersome such as:

  • Diarrehea
  • Constipation
  • Full or bloated feeling
  • Gas
  • Change in the ability to taste the food
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the bones, joints, and muscles

Q:  What should I tell the healthcare provider before he/she prescribes Fosamax?

A: Before or while taking Fosamax, you must inform your healthcare provider if you have or had any uncommon allergic reaction to Fosamax or to any foods, preservatives, or dyes. Notify your healthcare provider if you are or may become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.

Inform your healthcare provider if you have or had difficulty in swallowing, kidney problems, heartburn, ulcer, low calcium in the blood, frequent muscle cramps or spasms, or osteomalacia, a condition characterized by softening of the bones due to lack of vitamin D.

Notify your healthcare provider if you are not capable of sitting or standing upright for about 30 minutes to feed yourself, of if you are any special diets like low-sodium or low-sugar diet.

Q:  Is there any interaction between the Fosamax and other drugs or foods?

A:  Fosamax and other medicines can interact with one another.  Notify your healthcare provider about all your prescription and non-prescription medicines you have taken or are taking. Make sure that your healthcare provider knows if you are taking aspirin or drugs that contain aspirin, antacids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatments like ibuprofen and naproxen, doxycycline like Doryx Vibramycin, quinidine such as Quinaglute, tetracycline like Sumycin, or calcium, iron, or potassium supplements.

Q:  What should I do if I think I have been injured as a consequence of using Fosamax?

A:  If you or any of your family members experience any harmful symptoms or uncommon medical condition while taking Fosamax, you must contact first your doctor or your healthcare provider. Then, look for an experienced lawyer to discuss your legal options and safeguard your rights to legal remedy for any injury sustained due to the use of Fosamax.

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