Uncertainty – that is the last word you want to describe Fosamax, an osteoporosis prevention prescription drug for which you, your wife, or your mother has been taking for the past 3, 5, or more years.
According to a recent Food & Drug Administration review which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, there is a growing debate over how long women should use drugs like Fosamax.
The debate is not new but the debate is more prominent as a greater number of women and/or their doctors report unusual femur fractures, esophageal cancer, and osteonecrosis of the jaw (when the jawbone crumbles).
These serious and quality of life diminishing side effects are considered rare by the FDA and makers of bisphosphonates but when you consider the millions of women taking this genre of osteoporosis drugs – rare – may still encompass thousands of women and some men. Obviously, the numbers are great enough to prompt investigation.
While bisphosphonates drug makers of Fosamax, Boniva, and Reclast (to name a few) may expect you to be on a drug for life, the FDA is cautioning against long-term use especially since after 3 to 5 years, there is no further improvement and worse – in rare cases may lead to weaker bones.
Is Fosamax and similar drugs the new HRT (hormone replacement therapy) dilemma? Remember when millions of postmenopausal women took HRT only to later learn that the drug caused breast cancer and heart attacks. Now again years later, a new study reveals a higher rate of life-threatening lung and leg blood clots, greater probability of gallbladder disease, and increased risk for urinary incontinence from HRT.
Women: Have you been prescribed Fosamax or other related bone building medication only to fracture your femur, suffer esophageal cancer, or jawbone death? Have you been prescribed Fosamax for osteopenia? Have you been taking Fosamax for too many years without any benefits? Did your doctor discuss the risks vs. benefits or has he or she revisited your long term Fosamax use?