Friday, August 17, 2007

Did Merck Hide the Fosamax Risks?

Merck, maker of the osteoporosis drug Fosamax, may have seriously under reported the risks of jawbone death related to the drug, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Jawbone death is associated with the use of a bisphosphonate class of drugs that includes Fosamax. Bisphonsphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) is always serious. It destroys the bone in the jaw and it's extremely difficult to treat.

Another Fosamax adverse side effect that Merck chose to ignore was covered in our October 1st 2004 Friday Pearl. It focused on an ocular adverse drug study funded by Research to Prevent Blindness and published in Ophthalmology. This study suggested Fosamax stimulates the production of a distince subgroup of T cells that release cytokines associated with inflammatory uveitis and /or scleritis, which can lead to major loss of vision.

Are menopausal / postmenopausal women (by far the largest users of Fosamax and the target of the Fosamax TV ads), once again innocent victims of Big Pharma?


Steve said...

Would those "socially committed people" (you know, those wonderful people who brought you the increased heart attack risk with Vioxx) bring you anything that wasn't perfectly safe? You bet your bippie they would. They are making money on Fosamax aren't they?
Would they continue to sell something that had been shown to be a killer drug? Well..... yeah. Same reason as Fosamax.

Sam Andrews said...

Personally, I'm not taking any more pharmaceutical drugs, unless it's a life and death situation that only a prescription drug could address, and that certainly does not include statins-which should have a black box too (or maybe a brown box if there is such thing). And I've given up Prozac after 20 years and my wife thinks I'm a lot more fun than I have been in years.

Money talks, and we the people forget that collectively we still have a huge amount.

James Waugh, MD said...

Foxamax sales were over 4 billion last year. Does anyone think Merck really cares if women go blind or have exposed bone in their jaws.

So they lose a thousand or more lawsuits-even million dollar settlements won't make that much of a dent in the billions of profit dollars this drug has produced for Merck and it's stockholders.

Regular weight bearing exercise, a good diet, along with a daily supplement that includes calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, boron, potassium, and strontium citrate is a safer choice for maintaining bone health. But the reality is-the FDA would shut down any supplement company that dared to make that claim.

Interesting times we are living through, aren't they?