The drug Fosamax, also known generically as alendronate, is a bishosphonate drug that was intended to treat patients with osteoporosis, and keep bone loss to a minimum.  The drug was supposed to increase or maintain mineral and bone calcium levels, as well as improve overall bone density.  Fosamax was first introduced to the market in 1995 after gaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

 Potential Fosamax bone damageFosamax became a top seller for the manufacturer, and brought in revenues of more than three billion dollars for the year ending in 2005.  The manufacturer had a unique patent on the drug until 2009, when other generic forms of the medication could be made and sold by competitors. 

As previously stated, the main reason that Fosamax is prescribed is to help people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis causes bone density to decrease, leading to increased chances of bone breaks and fractures.  When a patient finds that a healthy diet and regular exercise is not enough to maintain bone health, medication, such as Fosamax, is often prescribed.

Fosamax became so highly prescribed, not only because it helps to prevent bone loss, but also because it could reverse bone loss that may have already taken place.  This drug was able to actually build bone mass in people with osteoporosis, as well as other forms of degenerative bone diseases.

That being said, users of Fosamax began to develop very serious side effects.  One of the most serious complications was the formation of a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ, or “dead jaw”.  This very serious condition causes a great deal of pain, and eventually causes the jawbone tissue to die.  The amount of pain patients experience has been reported as severe.

Symptoms of dead jaw include pain in the jaw, pain in the entire maxillofacial area, infections of the soft tissues, numbness or tingling, loosening teeth, and bone becoming exposed inside of the main oral cavity.

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It is important to understand that no matter how large a pharmaceutical company is, they still have a duty to provide safe medications that include accurate warnings as to any side effects that may occur.  Not taking these steps may be considered negligence, and victims have a right to seek legal action to help assist with their damages.