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Fosamax Update: FDA Still Questioning Benefits of Long-Term Use, Recommends Some Women Stop After Five Years

December 31, 1969

The US Food and Drug Administration is still questioning whether or not there are substantial benefits to women take Fosamax long-term. In its recent analysis of bisphosphonates, which are drugs that are supposed to help strengthen and build bones, it continues to voice concerns about the serious side effects that can develop from taking these drugs (Actonel and Reclast are also popular bisphosphonates) for longer than three to five years. While the the federal agency isn't officially recommending that patients refrain from using these medications for longer, per the statement it now requires on the labels of all bisphosphonates, the FDA is cautioning users to periodically reevaluate whether they should continue taking the meds.

This study's findings come after the FDA announced last year that using bisphosphonates long-term might actually weaken bones and up the risk of a patient developing esophageal cancer, thighbone fractures, and osteonecrosis of the jaw. Numerous Fosamax lawsuits have even been filed by patients blaming the drug for these complications. In Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County, Anaheim dangerous drug lawyer Vincent Howard of Howard Law, PC represents clients seeking damages from the makers of bisphosphonates.

Bone strengthening drugs are especially popular among older women combating osteoporosis. The FDA examined data of women who were on the meds for six to 10 years. The agency's findings, which were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, echoed a similar conclusion from its 2011 announcement that women who aren't already suffering from osteoporosis don't appear to get a great deal of benefit from taking bisphosphonates for longer than five years.

The study's authors also noted that considering that extended use can increase the chance of serious side effects, patients who are younger and/or are at low risk of developing fractures should consider not taking the drug beyond this length of time. The authors found that the women most likely to benefit from taking bisphosphonates for longer were those that continue to experience low bone density.

"Seeing as bisphosphonates are supposed help regenerate bone cells, for them to potentially weaken bones instead, perhaps even increase the chance of serious health complications, is unacceptable, said Anaheim Fosamax lawyer Vincent Howard.

According to researchers, up to 70% of women who are now taking bisphosphonates could potentially benefit from not taking these meds long-term. (The FDA says that between 2005 and 2009, doctors wrote over 150 million bisphosphonate prescriptions.)

If you have suffered serous health complications from taking Fosamax or any other bisphosphonate, contact Orange County, California Vincent Howard today.

FDA Still Cautious About Bone Drugs, ABC News, May 10, 2012

Continuing Bisphosphonate Treatment for Osteoporosis -- For Whom and for How Long?, New England Journal of Medicine, May 9, 2012

New Cautions About Long-Term Use of Bone Drugs, NY Times, May 9, 2012

More Blog Posts:
Orange County, California Dangerous Drug: Fosamax Again Linked to Eye Conditions, California Injury Lawyers, April 26, 2012

FDA Advisory Panel to Review Risks Associated with Taking Fosamax, California Injury Lawyers, September 8, 2011

Does Fosamax Increase the Risk of Esophageal Cancer?, California Injury Lawyers, July 31, 2011