Information on the bisphosphonates drug group
“The bisphosphonates are powerful, they cause dramatic changes in the bone physiology, and they deserve respect,” (University of Washington course page on bone physiology). There is much debate surrounding the controversial drug group, bisphosphonates. Reports indicate that these drugs help prevent bones from breaking by 35%, while at the same time, the an FDA warning was released concerning the link between bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, to femur fracture (Americanbonehealth.org).
Weitz & Luxenberg would like to provide you with information and resources on the bisphosphonates drug group in an effort to promote better understanding of the medications available to you.
Bisphosphonates are drugs prescribed to prevent the loss of bone mass. They have also been used in treatment of bone cancers (Cancer.gov). Bisphosphonates work by slowing down or stopping the process known as apoptosis – or cell death – in the bones. By doing this, the bones stay stronger for longer periods of time and help to rejuvenate the bones in the event of massive bone destruction such as cancer or bone disease. Bisphosphonates are also used to prevent or treat osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. They do this by slowing down the thinning process the bones undergo when stricken by osteoporosis or Paget’s disease (WebMD).
The first experimental research studies dealing with forms of Bisphosphonates date back to 1865 in Germany. They were first used for industrial purposes – mainly in textile, fertilizer and oil industries. In 1968, research on bisphosphonates began to reveal their biological benefits. Merck & Co Incorporated developed the first bisphosphonate for the use on human bones called Fosamax (the generic name being alendronate)(National Center for Biotechnology Information).
Types of Bisphosphonates
Some brand names of bisphosphonate drugs include (WebMD):
A bisphosphonate drug is taking once a day, once a month, or once or twice a week. Certain bisphosphonates such as Reclast or a form of ibandronate (Boniva) are taken intravenously usually once a year and once every three months respectively (WebMD).
All bones go through a constant process of cell death and cell birth. This process is perfectly balanced in a healthy person. A person with unhealthy bones may experience an imbalance in this process where, for instance, the cells in the bones are dying faster than they can be rebuilt. Bisphosphonates work at slowing down the natural process of cell death in the bones, thereby restoring the bones to a balanced state.
There are three major concerns when taking bisphosphonates:
- In some cases bisphosphonates are known to cause brittle bones that can easily fracture. This occurs especially in the femur, or thigh bone, which is known to be the strongest bone in the human body. This tends to happen in long-term users of the drug, and although cases may be rare, they can still be extremely detrimental to one’s health, career, and well-being.
2. Problems with the esophagus such as:
- Heart burn
- Esophageal erosions
- Esophageal Cancer
A recent study concluded that taking Bisphosphonates nearly doubles your risk of developing stomach and esophageal cancer (Bisphosphonates.org).
3. A rare, but serious condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, or jawbone death, where the jaw bone becomes oxygen deprived and dies inside the body. This condition causes serious pain and requires extensive surgeries (WebMD).
Weitz & Luxenberg can help those who have been seriously injured by femur fractures caused by Fosamax. We can walk you through the process of filing a Fosamax lawsuit that can properly compensate you for your losses. To get started in this process, simply fill out the form on this page. After submitting the form, a Weitz & Luxenberg representative will get in contact with you to provide you with a free, no obligation, legal consultation concerning your Fosamax case.
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