Other Osteoporosis Drugs

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There are two major competitors to the medication Fosamax in the bisphosphonate market.  While Merck's Fosamax is by far the best selling and most widely prescribed osteoporosis drug on the market, Novartis International AG's Aredia and Zometa are popular alternatives.  These two drugs are very similar, but differ in dosage and administration.


Aredia (pamidronate disodium) was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1991 and is used to treat hypercalcemia, Paget's disease, and some forms of cancer such as multiple myeloma.  It works by preventing bone resorption, or the process by which certain cells break down bone to release minerals, that some cancers can cause.  For almost 15 years it was a popular treatment for a number of conditions, but by 2005, popular and medical opinion of the entire class of bisphosphonate drugs began to change.

Due to mounting evidence of serious bone-related complications first relayed in 2004, Novartis and the FDA advised dental healthcare professionals on May 18, 2005 about the potential link between Aredia and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).  The alert informed dentists that patients undergoing Aredia treatment should avoid invasive dental procedures and that they should be aware of the primary symptoms of ONJ.

According to reports gathered by officials at Novartis, 875 developed ONJ between December 2002 and 2005.  Most of these patients were receiving chemotherapy and steroid treatments, two conditions that can predispose the development of ONJ.  Unfortunately, Aredia can increase the number of complications that can arise from even simple procedures, including loose teeth, swollen gums, or oral tissue that will simply not heal.


Zometa (zoledronic acid), also manufactured by Novartis, is reputed to be 100 times more powerful than Aredia.  Doctors prescribe it in smaller doses for use over a shorter period of time, and it has been successful in treating hypercalcemia, Paget's disease, and multiple myeloma.  Unfortunately, it is even more dangerous than Aredia because it is more powerful.

The FDA and Novartis alerted dentists and other oral health care professionals about the potential link between Zometa and osteonecrosis of the jaw.  Unfortunately 875 people had already been injured between 2002 and 2005, some of them suffering horrendous injuries that necessitated the removal of part or the entire jawbone.  Zometa was first introduced into the market in 2001, and quickly earned more than $1 billion in sales.

Risks of Bisphosphonate Drugs

Bisphosphonates are complex and complicated drugs, and as such can cause a range of side effects.  Some of the more common side effects include gastrointestinal distress, esophageal erosions, electrolyte disturbances, and femur fractures.  Also, patients suffering from chronic renal failure excrete the drug much slower than others, so doctors must take special care when prescribing Bisphosphonates.

Contact a Fosamax Lawyer Today

If you or someone you know took a bisphosphonate drug that lead to negative side effects, you need to contact an attorney immediately.  You could be entitled to financial compensation for your injury, but if you wait too long you could risk losing your right to legal recourse. Contact a dedicated and experienced defective drug attorney and get started on the path towards justice today.

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Information and facts regarding femur fractures and the drug Fosamax. Help from experienced Zometa & Aredia Lawyers offer a free case review. Updated 6/28/2011