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Fosamax and other osteoporosis drugs allegedly linked to "dead jaw" disease

Osteoporosis limits mobility for many elderly women and men but their bone density drugs may lead to serious side effects

New York City, NY - To balance the loss of bone density caused by osteoporosis, doctors prescribe bisphosphonate drugs, such as Fosamax (Alendronate). Researchers have identified a link between bisphosphonates and a serious bone condition called Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) but doctors still prescribe the drugs to millions of consumers.

ONJ or "dead jaw" is a rare bone disease in which the jaw bone deteriorates and dies. Since 2001, approximately 2,400 patients have reported ONJ dead jaw. To repair jaw bone damage, a painful surgery is required to remove dying bone tissue. Side effects include jaw pain, numbness, exposed oral bones, loss of teeth, infection.

Bisphosphonate drugs have been used for over 10 years to treat osteoporosis and bone cancer by inhibiting bone resorption. These drugs are administered orally or intravenously. Popular bisphosphonate drugs include Fosamax, Actonel, Evista, Boniva, Bonefos, Didronel, Aredia, Skelid and Zometa.

Several bisphosphonate drug makers revised their warning labels to include the risk of jaw tissue disease, ONJ. In 2005, Merck representatives said they would add information about ONJ to the Fosamax warning label. To date, there is no warning about ONJ risks on the Fosamax website.

Lawsuits are being filed against Fosamax maker, Merck, on behalf of Fosamax users suffering from jaw tissue disease. To submit a complaint, go to

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