Fosamax Femur Fractures

FosamaxFosamax is a drug used to treat and prevent particular types of bone disease and bone loss. It is primarily used for patients suffering osteoporosis or a condition called Paget’s disease of bone. The active ingredient in Fosamax is alendronate, and it belongs to a drug class called bisphosphonates. Fosamax was launched in the U.S. market in 1995 by pharmaceutical giant Merck. When Fosamax was first introduced, it was regarded as the superior bone disease treatment.

While millions of Americans have been successfully treated with Fosamax, a number have experienced debilitating side effects. The FDA has received numerous reports of Fosamax femur fractures, or thigh bone fractures. Additionally, patients can develop osteonecrosis of the jaw. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a condition during which the jawbone becomes weak and brittle, and can collapse completely. Many patients filed lawsuits against Merck for bone damage that occurred while taking Fosamax.

Fosamax Femur Fracture Research

In March 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an investigation on bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax and their association with femur fractures. The FDA investigation was fueled in part by research conducted by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research. The research indicated that rare but serious Fosamax femur fractures are associated with long-term use. The study was also published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

The 2010 study examined 310 patients who suffered femur breaks. The results showed that 94 percent of these were caused by Fosamax or other bisphosphonate drugs. Furthermore, the Fosamax femur fractures occurred in patients who had been taking Fosamax for an average of five or more years. The study revealed that a main warning sign of a Fosamax femur fracture is persistent pain in the thigh or groin where the fracture will typically take place.

Theories for Fosamax Femur Fracture

The exact explanation for the incidence of Fosamax femur fractures is currently unknown. However, it is believed that Fosamax alters the natural process of bone remodeling in the body. One theory states that Fosamax may harden the bone’s outer layer. As a result, the interior cells are prevented from being routinely replaced during the bone remodeling process. When small fractures occur, they accumulate and contribute to severe Fosamax femur fractures.

Another theory states that Fosamax may cause a condition referred to as “frozen bone.” Frozen bone essentially shuts down the body’s remodeling process of bone breakdown and regeneration. In theory, frozen bone can contribute to the clean fractures that many Fosamax patients experience.

Fosamax Femur Fracture Case Examples

A number of Fosamax femur fracture reports are surfacing. Many of these Fosamax femur fracture cases are initiated from low impact. This means that serious trauma to the femur is not necessary to cause a Fosamax femur fracture. Many reports indicate that the patient was engaging in routine, everyday activities when they sustained a Fosamax femur fracture.

Reports indicate that Fosamax femur fractures tend to occur spontaneously. Additionally, they are atypical to normal femur fractures. This can be seen by the fact that Fosamax femur fractures typically occur in the long, middle section of the femur as well as the bone located below the hip’s joint. These areas are typically not associated with osteoporosis fractures. Furthermore, the femur is one of the strongest bones in the body, making Fosamax femur fractures more unusual.

Among many others, the following women have sustained a Fosamax femur fracture:

  • Carol Ames was simply walking in her home when she sustained a Fosamax femur fracture
  • Sandy Potter was jumping rope with children in the neighborhood when her femur snapped in half
  • Over the course of 10 years of treatment, Sue Heller sustained a Fosamax femur fracture in both femur bones
  • An anonymous women sustained a Fosamax femur fracture when the subway train she was riding came to routine stop
View Sources
  1. "Fosamax Medication Guide." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Merck & Co., Inc., n.d. Web. 12 Apr 2013. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM241519.pdf
  2. Lenart, Brett, Dean Lorich, et al. "Atypical Fractures of the Femoral Diaphysis in Postmenopausal Women Taking Alendronate." New England Journal of Medicine. 358. (2008): 1304-1306. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc0707493
  3. Masoodi, Nasseer. "Bisphosphonates and atypical femur fractures." British Journal of Medical Practitioners. 3.1 (2010): 311. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. http://www.bjmp.org/content/bisphosphonates-and-atypical-femur-fractures
  4. Romo, Christine. "Fosamax: Is Long Term Use of Bone Strengthening Drug Linked to Fractures?." ABC News. ABC News, 9 Mar 2010. Web. 12 Apr 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/fosamax-long-term-bone-strengthening-drug-linked-fractures/story?id=10045179