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Fosamax, Boniva and other osteoporosis drugs

Osteoporosis drugs taken to prevent bone fracture have been shown to cause rare, but critical, fractures of their own in a recent article published in the Journal of American Medical Association.  That study found that among older women, treatment with a bisphosphonate for more than 5 years was associated with an increased risk of fractures to their leg.  To see the details of that study, please link here.  

In October 2010, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers of this risk and noted that it would require a change to the medications's label.  It was as a result of that warning that more studies were done, eventually leading to the link between fractures and osteoporosis drugs.   To see the FDA warning, please link here.  

The brand names of the bisphosphonates creating this risk are Boniva, Fosamax,  Fosamax Plus D, Actonel, Actonel with Calcium, Atelvia, Reclast and their generic equivalents. 

Merck's Fosamax was the first bisphosphonate drug used to treat and prevent osteoporosis in older women.  Recent articles note that sales of Fosamax exceeded $1 billion by the year 2000 and by the year 2009 more than 5 million patients, mostly women over 50 years old, took one of these osteoporosis drug.  


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