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For many people with osteoporosis, oral bisphosphonates have promised treatment for this painful condition. Osteoporosis is a significant weakening of the bones that commonly occurs as people age. It is estimated that by age 70 more than 90 percent of women have some degree of osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis are at significantly greater risk of breaking bones and, as people age, broken bones, especially hips, can be very dangerous.
In order to protect themselves from the pain and the risks associated with osteoporosis, many people seek medical treatment for the condition. But, what happens when that medical treatment brings serious risks of its own such as cancer and jaw bone death? Are patients less likely to seek treatment and more wary of taking medications?
Public Reaction to Potential Fosamax Side Effects
Osteoporosis drugs are often advertised by the drug manufacturer and they are seen on the news after a medical study has been completed. Patients are provided with a lot of information about osteoporosis medications, such as Fosamax. Some of the information is true, some is later discredited and some is conflicting. It can be very confusing for the patient to decide whether the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks of serious side effects from the medication.
The advertisements for Fosamax and other medications are promising. They promise to help reverse bone loss and to allow patients to lead more active lives without the risk of serious injury. And, all the patient has to do is take a pill, as prescribed by his or her doctor, in order to reap the benefits of the drug.
However, while oral osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax are approved by the FDA, they are still being studied and the results of the studies are often troubling. In the last few days of 2008, Fosamax was linked to both esophageal cancer and osteonecrosis.
Studies indicate that as news breaks about potential negative side effects, patients may become frightened and may stop taking their medication as prescribed. In fact the Informa Pharmaceutical Science Journal cites the impact of patient opinions about their osteoporosis medication as one of the reasons that patients do not adhere to their doctor's prescription instructions for the medication.
Patients become increasingly concerned with each new report or study that is released concerning the safety of their medication. Reports of increased irregular heart rates, cancer of the esophagus and osteonecrosis or dead jawbone disease make people think twice about taking osteoporosis medications.
Currently, the Fosamax drug is the 21st most prescribed drug in the United States and millions of Americans use it to help prevent the progression of osteoporosis. However, many of the most serious Fosamax risks have just been released to the public. The recent studies have the very real potential to negate the significant positive advertising effects of the osteoporosis drug companies and to increase the number of patients who speak with their doctors about osteoporosis treatments that do not involve an oral bisphosphonate. As each new Fosamax injury is reported and new Fosamax lawsuits are filed, public opinion may be shift and the public may become increasingly cautious about taking this type of drug.