Actonel is an osteoporosis medication that its manufacturer advertises as “clinically proven to help reduce the chance” of a spinal fracture or non-spinal fracture. Actonel is part of a class of drugs called bisphosphonates that are promoted as long-term treatments for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and that are also used to treat other conditions such as Paget’s disease in both women and men.

Unfortunately, like most bisphosphonate medications, Actonel has also proved to be a dangerous product that can cause serious and potentially deadly side effects. If you or a loved one has experienced complications as a result of taking Actonel, it is important to contact a Boston defective osteoporosis drug lawyer as soon as possible for assistance in making a claim for compensation against the drug manufacturer. Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers are here to help.

Actonel Side Effects

There are a number of different side effects that medical studies and patient complaints indicate may be linked to Actonel and other bisphosphonate medications. Some of the dangers associated with this drug include:

  • Osteonecrosis of the jaw: Also called ONJ or dead jaw syndrome, this condition is characterized by a failure of the jaw-bone to heal after minor injury such as getting a tooth pulled. The Mayo Clinic has indicated that around 1 out of every 1,000 women taking bisphosphonates will develop dead jaw, with around 40 percent of cases resulting from a denture rubbing against the mucosa in the mouth.
  • Esophageal cancer: A 2010 British Medical Journal study points to a potential link between the long-term use of bisphosphonate drugs and the development of esophageal cancer. The study showed that two out of every 1,000 patients ages 60 to 70 who had taken oral osteoporosis drugs for five years developed esophageal cancer; this is double the 1 in 1,000 normal for people in this age group. More than 30 cases of esophageal cancer associated with bisphosphonates have already been reported to the FDA.
  • Atypical fractures of the femur: The Femoral Fracture Task Force from the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research recommended that a warning be added to bisphosphonate medications about the danger of femur fracture after a study showed that 291 of 310 patients had been using bisphosphonates on a long-term basis prior to suffering a femur fracture. The FDA has also reviewed a potential link between bisphosphonates and a painful subtrochanteric femur fracture.
  • Atrial fibrillation: A 2008 University of Washington study revealed that bisphosphonates could double the risk of a chronic irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. While the link has not been conclusively proven, a 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine had also identified a potential increase in the risk of irregular heartbeats in postmenopausal women taking bisphosphonates. Some studies have suggested this increased risk may exceed 50 percent.
  • Musculoskeletal Pain: In January of 2008, the FDA released a warning alerting the public to complaints that bisphosphonates were causing severe pain in the bones, joints and muscles. This pain could occur at any time after starting the osteoporosis medications and could be debilitating.

These side effects can limit your quality of life, necessitate costly medical treatment or in some cases, lead to your death or the death of a loved one. Patients weren’t made aware of these potential risks and the manufacturers of Actonel may be legally liable for producing a defective drug and/or for failing to warn patients about its risks.

Taking Legal Action

Makers of defective drugs can be held strictly liable when their medications cause harm when used as intended. An Actonel patient who suffered side effects could thus file a product liability lawsuit against the drugmaker without needing to prove negligence. A link between the drug and complications would need to be demonstrated.

Many Actonel cases are resolved in multi-district litigations while others end in settlement or in a jury verdict in an individual trial. No matter how your case is resolved, you have the best chance of recovering full compensation if you get help from a Boston personal injury lawyer at the Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers.


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