Fosamax Overview

Fosamax Defined

Fosamax, derived from alendronate sodium, refers to a prescription medicine for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis of women in postmenopausal period. Osteoporosis is a medical condition which is characterized by the thinning of the bones, weak and easily breaks.  Osteoporosis is a medical condition that may result from natural causes or may be found in men and women who took corticosteroids.

Fosamax helps treat Paget’s disease, a medical condition where the body substitutes healthy bones with weak bones.  Fosamax works by stopping the breakdown of the bones and increasing the bone density or its thickness for stronger bones and will not break easily.

Fosamax is a bisphosphonate medicine produced by Merck and Company Inc and was granted the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1999.

Fosamax and the Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

There were recent reports which linked Fosamax to severe side effects known as Osteonecrosis of the Jaw or ONJ, or “jaw death.” ONJ is a medical condition where the jawbone partly breaks down and dies. ONJ may result to severe pain, loose teeth, exposed bones, loss of function, and even disfigurement.

The manufacturer of the Fosamax, the Merck and Company Inc claimed that ONJ is an uncommon side effect and in controlled clinical trials with more than 17,000 patients, there were no ONJ cases.

Most of the researchers and physicians interviewed in latest news seem to believe that the benefits of the bisphosphonate medicines outweighed the risks and expressed that they would continue prescribing these drugs to their patients. Previously, it seemed that most of the reported occurrences of ONJ were from the cancer patients who took bisphosphonate treatments intravenously.

Taking Fosamax

Take Fosamax orally with a full glass or 6 to 8 ounces of plain drinking water on an empty stomach. Fosamax should be taken in the morning and at least 30 minutes before taking any food, drink, or other medicines like antacids or calcium and vitamin supplements. Taking foods and drinks with 30 minutes of taking Fosamax will reduce the amount of absorption by the body. Avoid lying down 30 minutes after taking Fosamax. Staying upright prevents irritating the esophagus and lets the Fosamax reach your stomach quickly.

Adhere to the instructions and orders of your healthcare provider while taking the Fosamax. If your dose is different from what is on the label, do not alter it unless directed by your healthcare provider. If you miss a dose of Fosamax, avoid taking it later in the day but resume your usual schedule the following morning. Never double dose.

Fosamax Health Risks and Side Effects

Common side effects linked with the use of Fosamax is abdominal pain and less common side effects are as follows:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Difficulty or pain in swallowing
  • Irritation or pain in the esophagus
  • Mouth sores or pain in the mouth, particularly when you chew or suck on tablets
  • Upset stomach
  • New or worsening heartburn
  • Bloody vomit or vomit that appears like coffee grounds
  • Vomiting
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Itching
  • Skin rashes which may become serious when exposed to sunlight
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Eyes pain
  • Swelling of the face, eyes lips, tongue, or throat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain

Some laboratory animals that were given Fosamax acquires a particular kind of cancer but it is still unknown if this cancer can develop in human.

Here are some side effects that may happen but disappear during the treatment period as your body is trying to adjust to Fosamax. These side effects do not require medical attention but contact your healthcare provider if they are persistent and troublesome:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Full or bloated feeling
  • Some changes in the ability to taste food
  • Pain in the bones, muscles or joints
  • Nausea
  • Headache

What should I tell my healthcare provider?

Before or while taking Fosamax, inform your healthcare provider if you

  • Are pregnant, or may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding your baby; Fosamax was not yet tested in pregnant or nursing mothers but adverse side effects were shown in animals.
  • Have digestion, esophagus, intestine, or stomach problems; taking Fosamax maybe dangerous to  esophagus, intestines, or stomach and may make the present problematic issues that the patient may have in these parts.
  • Have previous or have any uncommon allergic reactions to Fosamax, or if you are allergic to any of the substances like foods, preservatives, or dyes.
  • Have difficulty in swallowing.
  • Have previously or have some problems with heartburn, low-calcium in your blood, ulcers, recurrent muscle cramps or spasms, or osteomalacia, a medical condition where there is softening of the bones because of lack of vitamin D.
  • Have any kidney problems.
  • Cannot sit or stand upright for 30 minutes, or feed yourself.
  • Are on special dietary program like low-sodium or low-sugar diet. Your physician may suggest a balanced diet with a sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D, which is found in milk and other dairy products while taking Fosamax.

Is there any interaction with other drugs or foods?

Fosamax and other medicines can interact with one another. Inform your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking or have previously taken. Make sure that you inform your healthcare provider if you take aspirin or other drugs containing aspirin. Taking aspirin with Fosamax may result to esophagus, intestine, or stomach problems worse.

Inform your healthcare provider also if you are taking any or more of the following:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines or NSAIDs including ibuprofen in the form of Advil and Motrin, and naproxen such as Naprosyn and Aleve
  • Antacids
  • Doxycycline through Doryx, Vibramycin
  • Calcium, iron, or potassium supplements
  • Tetracycline through Sumycin
  • Quinidine through Quinaglute

Obtaining Legal Help

Since all medications have their side effects, it is the obligation of the drug manufacturer to make its products safe and inform the medical community and the overall public of its probable risks associated with using their drugs. If the manufacturer fails to do this, then they can be held legally liable if the patients are injured as a consequence of insufficient warnings or the dangerous nature of the medicine, under a legal theory known as “product liability.”

If you or any of your family members have experienced the symptoms or the uncommon medical conditions while taking Fosamax, you must contact your healthcare provider. Then, you can find an experienced lawyer who can discuss with you’re the possible legal options and safeguard your right to a legal remedy for any injury caused by using Fosamax.

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