Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bone Drug Linked To Fractures

This has to be one of the most unfortunate side effects of a pharmaceutical ... A class of drug intended to reduce bone fractures increases risk for fractures. The drugs are still on the market.

Name brands include:
  • Merck’s Fosamax
  • Roche’s Boniva
  • Warner Chilcott’s Actonel
Last year, Merck paid one woman $8 million in damages, "$3 million more than the $5 million her lawyers had asked for," because a jury "found that Fosamax is defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous."1

The FDA is thinking about requiring a label limiting the drugs' use to 5 years in patients. Recall though that these drugs (at least Fosamax/alendronate) have a half-life in the body of up to 12 years. And there's the suspected link to esophogeal cancer.
"[The FDA] has evaluated the safety of the drugs, known as bisphosphonates, for almost four years and cited possible links to unusual thigh fractures and jawbone deterioration in 2010."2
Why are they still being sold?
"Bisphosphonates generated $4.2 billion in U.S. sales last year and $7.6 billion worldwide."
Here's some background on the bone-damaging mechanism from a prior post:
Osteoporosis Drugs Contribute To The Fractures They Were Intended To Prevent
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1 Merck Loses $8 Million Verdict In Trial Over Fosamax
2 Warner, Merck Bone Drugs Need Label Changes on Use Duration, Panel Says

1 comment:

Dr. Mel said...

Yup, my mother took Fosamax (similar drug) for years, then fell, broke her hip, and died from it.
A pox on Big Pharma's house.