Fosamax® Femur Fractures and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

*Cory Watson Attorneys is no longer accepting Fosamax cases.*

Fosamax® (alendronate) has been linked to femur fractures and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Femur fractures and ONJ (otherwise known as “dead jaw”) are extremely painful conditions.

What Is Fosamax®?

Fosamax is an oral drug used to treat osteoporosis (bone loss) in post-menopausal women, to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis, and to treat Paget’s disease (a lifelong chronic condition that results in abnormal bone growth).

Part of a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates, Fosamax is also used to treat bone loss caused by certain cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma. Fosamax has been prescribed more than 20 million times.

Once taken, bisphosphonates remain in the bones for many years. The coauthor of a report on osteonecrosis of the jaw resulting from bisphosphonate use, published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, writes that drugs such as Fosamax could upset the delicate balance between the cells that put calcium in bones and the cells that take calcium away. His report prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to post a review warning of the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw for all bisphosphonates, which includes both oral and intravenous doses.

Fosamax® Femur Fractures

While Fosamax is supposed to help make bones stronger, there is mounting evidence that Fosamax may be responsible for spontaneous atypical femur stress fractures and fractures. The femur or thigh bone is the longest bone in the human body and extends from the pelvis to the knee.

These fractures appear to have occurred with no apparent trauma and have occurred after tripping (but not falling) over a rug, or from simply walking down the stairs. Dr. Kenneth Egol, professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, said Fosamax bone fracture patients had X-rays that looked like those of car accident victims.

Fosamax Linked to Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Also known as “dead jaw,” osteonecrosis is the destruction of jaw bone tissue. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a painful, deteriorative condition that involves soft-tissue swelling in the mouth, infection, loosening of the teeth, drainage, and exposed dead bone. Treatment can be long and painful and can result in significant deformity.

There are several other bisphosphonate drugs on the market, all of which have been linked to ONJ. Actonel® is an oral bisphosphonate drug similar to Fosamax and is manufactured by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals. Aredia® (pamidronate disodium) and Zometa® (zoledronic acid), both manufactured by Novartis, now include labeling on the drugs to include reports of osteonecrosis of the jaw in people who have taken bisphosphonates.

$8 Million Verdict for Fosamax® Jaw Injury Victim

A woman in Florida was awarded $8 million by a jury after Fosamax destroyed her jaw and caused significant pain. The jury concluded that Fosamax was “unreasonably dangerous due to defective design, and that its defective design was a legal cause of Mrs. Boles’s injury.”

The woman had been taking Fosamax for 10 years. The manufacturer faced some 1,400 lawsuits alleging Fosamax harmed patients.

*Cory Watson Attorneys is no longer accepting Fosamax cases.*


Drug Linked to Death of Jawbone, by Rita Rubin, USA Today. Accessed on April 14, 2006, from

IMS Health, National Prescription AuditPlus, On-Line, May 2001 – April 2004, Data Extracted May 2004. Appears in FDA’s One Year Post Exclusivity Adverse Event Review: Alendronate accessed on April 14, 2006.

Fosamax® is a registered trademark of Merck & Co., Inc. and is used here only to identify the product in question. Actonel® is a registered trademark of Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and is used here only to identify the product in question. Aredia® and Zometa® are registered trademarks of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and are used here only to identify the products in question.

This law firm is not associated with, sponsored by, or affiliated with the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; the Food and Drug Administration; Merck & Co., Inc.; Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals; Novartis Pharmaceuticals; USA Today; or IMS Health.