Osteoporosis Drugs – Should They Carry Stronger Warning Labels?

Actress Sally Field says she takes Boniva. Older post-menopausal women skip through a field, happy with life because they take Reclast. These drugs are all popular pharmaceuticals from the class known as bisphosphonates that are supposed to minimize the effects of the bone-thinning condition of osteoporosis.

Actonel, Zometa, Aclasta, and Fosamax are also in that group. But an international task force now says labeling on bisphoshonates should carry information about the risk of a rare thigh bone fracture if the drug is used over time, according to Consumer Affairs.

The group was convened by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and their study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Looking at more than 300 cases of “atypical femur fractures,” the evidence was overwhelming – 94 percent (291) of the patients had taken bisphosponates for five years or more. This is compelling because the condition is very rare so to find a link is suspicious.

The task force is urging better tracking of patients taking bisphosphonates for an extended amount of time and for more research.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the option to require additional warning labels on the drug class but at this time the agency believes the benefits outweigh the risks.

Problems with Fosamax have brought about 1,000 lawsuits to Merck & Co. over the debilitating condition of osteonecrosis, or death of the jawbone. In June of this year, Merck lost to Shirley Boles who was awarded $8 million.

Millions of people, most of which are women, have taken these drugs since they were approved in 1995 and the jury is still out as the injuries come in.

Consumers who have taken these types of medications or who have been injured due to another defective drug have the option to contact an experienced Florida pharmaceutical litigation attorney with any questions.