Osteoporosis is a common condition in the elderly that causes bone loss and that can increase the risk of a serious bone fracture. Osteoporosis requires treatment to help improve bone density and to make bones less thin and brittle. For many post-menopausal women, that treatment has come in the form of bisphosphonates. Since 1995 millions of women have been prescribed bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis. In some cases, women have also been prescribed these medications even when they didn’t really need the drugs as they just had osteopenia, a normal loss of bone mineral density that comes with age.
Unfortunately, many osteoporosis drugs prescribed to these women have now been revealed to cause dangerous side effects including unexplained bone fractures, a severe problem with the jaw-bone and an irregular heartbeat. If you or a loved one has experienced these or other complications, it is important to contact a Boston defective drug lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman.Types of Dangerous Osteoporosis Drugs
Many different kinds of osteoporosis drugs have now been linked to potential health complications including:
- Fosamax and Fosamax+D
These drugs are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies including Novartis; Proctor & Gable; Roche; Genentech and Merck, among others. The large pharmaceutical companies that released these osteoporosis drugs to the public are well aware of their legal obligations to test their products in order to ensure the products’ safety. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of these and other osteoporosis drugs may have let down their customers by failing to do sufficient tests; by failing to warn the public of the risks; and by putting a dangerous product into the market.Risks of Osteoporosis Drugs
The manufacturers who released the defective osteoporosis drugs can be held strictly liable for any injuries or complications experienced by patients. This means injured victims who took the dangerous osteoporosis drugs can pursue a claim for compensation without specifically proving the manufacturer was negligent. The injured patients just need to show that the drugs were defective, they were used as intended, and they made the patient sick.
Some of the different potential complications that a patient who took these dangerous osteoporosis drugs may experience include:
- Long-bone fractures, especially of the thigh or the femur (the hardest bone in the body).
- Osteonecrosis (ONJ) or bisphossy-jaw. This is a serious problem with the jawbone wherein the bone breaks down. The teeth could become lose, an infection could form and lesions could develop on the gums due to ONJ. Other complications and symptoms of ONJ include facial swelling; inflammation; serious infection; loss of death; drainage; altered sensation in the mouth; and numbness.
- Esophageal cancer as a result of irritation of the esophagus.
- Atrial fibrillation. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that a link between bisphosphonates and arrhythmias was indicated and this potential link is reflected on the warning label of Reclast. However, the FDA has not acknowledged bisphosphonate use as a potential cause of atrial fibrillation.
These and other complications can be costly to treat and can be painful and debilitating in some cases. Unfortunately, the side effects and complications are more likely to develop with long-term use and most patients are encouraged to take the osteoporosis medications for lengthy time-periods. Yet, an FDA study of certain osteoporosis medications indicated that there was a reduced chance of fracture during the early years of taking the medications but long-term use over the next five to ten years did not provide an advantage and any reduction in fractures disappeared after five to ten years of repeated use of the medications.Getting Legal Help
If you or a loved one is harmed by osteoporosis drugs, it is important to understand your legal rights and to consider taking action against the manufacturer of the defective drugs. An experienced Boston osteoporosis medication lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman can help with your case, so give us a call or contact us online today.