In light of recent studies concluding that long-term bisphosphonate use doubles a patient’s risk of sustaining a femur fracture, health care providers are revisiting treatment options to combat osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel are commonly prescribed to postmenopausal women as a treatment option for osteoporosis. Although health care providers have been aware of possible bisphosphonate side effects for some time, a February 23, 2011 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”) have many doctors rethinking treatment options to combat this condition. The study, which concluded that prolonged bisphosphonate use leads to femur fractures, has forced doctors to reexamine whether the risks outweigh the potentially dangerous bisphosphonate side effects.

New Recommendations for Long-Term Treatment

Now that a conclusive casual link between long-term bisphosphonate use and femur fractures has been established, doctors are considering altering treatment options. New recommendations include the following: (1) prior to prescribing a bisphosphonate, patients should undergo a bone density test, which compares the patient’s bone density to the bones of an average healthy young adult. The test result, known as a T-score, indicates whether the patient has osteoporosis and predicts a patient’s risk for sustaining a fracture; (2) considering other risk factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, build, calcium levels, lifestyle, family history and whether there is a history of previous fracture; (3) taking a “drug holiday” after five years of continuous bisphosphonate use; and (4) re-evaluating risk factors for osteoporosis before restarting treatment after a “drug holiday.”

Additional Considerations Regarding Bisphosphonates

While Fosamax and other bisphosphonates may remain viable treatment options for osteoporosis, it is paramount that health care providers evaluate the benefits and risks. For instance, Fosamax remains biologically active in the body for 10 years after the patient receives a final dose. Thus, using the drug for a prolonged period of time may in fact be counterproductive.

Fosamax Femur Fracture Lawsuit

If you or a loved one sustained a femur fracture as a result of taking a bisphosphonate such as Fosamax, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. Contact one of our Fosamax lawyers today for a free and confidential evaluation. The lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP have extensive litigation experience, and have recovered billions of dollars for their clients. In addition to being staunch advocators for your claim, our Fosamax injury lawyers also provide personal attention to guide you through the complex litigation process.

Published November 17, 2011 by