A week after the New England Journal of Medicine published a study finding that patients face an increased risk of fractures after taking bisphosphonates, another study published on May 21st finds that bisphosphonates can lead to atypical fractures.
The Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday discussing a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on bisphosphonates and atypical fractures. The study of 477 patients who had broken legs between 1999 and 2010 found that bisphosphonates such as Fosamax and Actonel can cause atypical thigh fractures. If a patient takes a bisphosphonate for longer than three to five years, the risk of atypical fractures from bisphosphonates increases.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, is facing 3,100 lawsuits related to Fosamax.
The following chart, published in the Wall Street Journal shows the risk of atypical fractures that patients face from taking bisphosphonates over time.
Nick Bruno is a Legal Assistant at Thompson and Tredennick
The link between bisphosphonates and osteoporotic fractures continues to gain national attention.
Bisphosphonates are prescribed for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans and another 34 million are at risk of osteoporosis.
The FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs as well as the Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee recommended an update to the labeling of Bisphosphonates as a result of new studies done of the effectiveness of Bisphosphonates such as Fosamax.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses data from new studies which show that fracture rates actually increase for patient who continue on bisphosphonate treatment for more than six years. The article concludes that there is little to no benefit to continuing on bisphosphonates for more than three to five years. According to the New York Times, Bisphosphonates cause “unusual femur fractures, esophageal cancer and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful and disfiguring crumbling of the jaw bone.”
The New York Times quotes Dr. Clifford Rosen who told the New York Times, “I’ve been on these advisory committees for years, and we get a big crowd in Washington, but the doctors never see the results.” Thompson and Tredennick partner Ted Tredennick reacts “If doctors do not see these results, imagine the risk that the average American faces from these dangerous drugs.”
Nick Bruno is a Legal Assistant at Thompson & Tredennick