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Osteoporosis drug causes concern in the UK

There is a possibility that 'dead jaw syndrome' may be caused by taking Alendronic Acid

Posted on 10 September 2009

Last month, a legal action began in the US against Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax also known in the UK as Alendronic Acid.

Alendronic Acid

Alendronic Acid is a drug designed to treat osteoporosis, which mainly affects postmenopausal patients and patients at risk of vitamin D3 deficiency. It is also used in the treatment of cancer patients where the disease has spread to the bone and causes severe pain.

Alendronic Acid has been available on the market as a prescription drug since 1995 under the sale name of Fosamax. Since, August 2005, this product has also been available in the form of 70mg of Alendronic Acid and 70mg of Vitamin D3 under the name of Fosavance.

In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a large number of reports of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), also known as dead jaw syndrome. The main indicators of this condition are non healing oral lesions and visible necrotic bone. Following these reports, the FDA issued a warning and urged changes to the product label.

In October 2007, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reported that it had also received a number of adverse reports and published a drug safety advice for the professional.

If you are concerned that you or a member of your family may have been affected by taking Fosamax or Fosavance, we suggest that you consult your medical advisers as soon as possible.