Name brands include:
- Merck’s Fosamax
- Roche’s Boniva
- Warner Chilcott’s Actonel
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."2Why 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
2 Warner, Merck Bone Drugs Need Label Changes on Use Duration, Panel Says