The popular Osteoporosis drug Actonel used by millions of Americans has been linked to Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) or “dead jaw.”
Actonel Update 6/28/12: In a new web guide published by the FDA, the administration lays out new guidance for the use of bisphosphonates, tentatively recommending a three to five year time limit for the drugs, at least until more conclusive data becomes available. The five-year time limit was originally suggested in a September 2011 report issued by the FDA, which concluded that there appears to be no tangible benefit to extending bisphosphonate regimens beyond five years. Click here to learn more.
Actonel Bone Fracture Update 5/24/12: In a study published this week by the Archives of Internal Medicine, Swiss researchers reached conclusions similar to those reached earlier this month by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) – that taking osteoporosis drugs from the bisphosphonate class can increase the risk of atypical bone fractures. Taken cumulatively, the results of the study seem to suggest that the risk of fractures increased over time while the benefits of the drugs decreased. Click here to learn more.
Actonel Bone Fracture Update 5/11/12: Researchers from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are expressing concern over the risk of bone fractures associated with the long-term use of a number of popular osteoporosis drugs from the bisphosphonate class. In an article published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), FDA researchers stated they were still uncertain as to the optimal duration for use of bisphosphonates, due to the high number of reports of atypical bone fractures in users of the drugs. Click here to learn more.
ACTONEL UPDATE 2/23/11 – A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has confirmed that long-term use of bisphosphonates like Actonel increases the risk for atypical (subtrochanteric or femoral shaft) fractures in older women. Patients are advised to weigh risks vs. benefits closely before taking Actonel. Learn More: Bisphosphonates Femur Fractures
What is the Problem?
Actonel, Fosamax, Boniva, Zometa, and Aredia are all in a class of drugs called bisphosphonates and are commonly marketed as medications to help and prevent or treat bone loss in osteoporosis.
There are over 36 million women who use medications like Actonel to prevent or slow osteoporosis. Since the indication of hormone replacement therapy causing increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer, more women are taking bisphosphonates at an earlier age.
Unfortunately with women taking these drugs at an earlier age and for much longer time spans, they are at an increased risk of developing Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ).
There have been over 2,400 Fosamax (same class of drugs) patients since 2001 that have reported bone death and jaw bone decay or Osteonecrosis of the Jaw.
In addition, more than 120 patients have suffered from such severe pain and debilitation that they have become bedridden or in need of devices like crutches, walkers and wheelchairs.
Signs and Symptoms of Actonel Induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
The typical signs and symptoms of osteonecrosis of the jaw may include pain, swelling or infection of the gums, loosening of the teeth, poor healing of the gums, numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw, drainage and exposed bone. Patients with the least serious form of this condition may not show any symptoms, but in the most serious cases, some patients may require the removal of sections of the jaw.