Hard to swallow news about Fosamax, the osteoporosis drug, and esophageal cancer.
For well over a decade Fosamax has been touted by its marketing machine as the dream pill for osteoporosis. Fosamax could do no wrong. Millions of women (and some men) asked their doctors to prescribe Fosamax which in turn enriched the pockets of Merck & Co. Inc., by $3 billion in sales for 2007.
The New England Journal of Medicine cites a finding by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that 23 cases of esophagus cancer have been possibly linked to Fosamax since its marketing debut in 1995. Two years lapsed between the debut of Fosamax and the developing esophageal cancer. Eight patients died.
Other bisphosphonate drugs, generically known as alendronate, may also be linked to cancer. In Japan and Europe, 21 cases involving Fosamax has been counted along with six for Procter & Gamble's Actonel or risedronate and Didronel or etidronate, and Roche's Boniva (ibandronate) may have been involved. Six patients died.
Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus. According to Wikipedia, the esophagus is an organ consisting of a tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. People taking Fosamax are instructed to remain upright for at least 30 minutes after taking the pill. The esophagus inflammation is already an adverse reaction to Fosamax.
In March 1996, Merck wrote a letter to the FDA about some of the side effects which were more severe than observed in the controlled studies. "Case reports received demonstrated that Fosamax can be irritating to the esophagus but careful adherence to the dosing instructions can reduce the potential for these side effects."
Merck also was the maker of Vioxx which was approved in 1999. The painkiller quickly became a cash cow with annual sales of $2.5 billion. The FDA ordered Vioxx to be removed from the shelves after more than 27,000 heart attacks were linked to Vioxx between 1999 and 2003.
Have you or a family member suffered esophagus cancer or another serious health injury after taking Fosamax or another osteoporosis drug? You could be eligible for a Fosamax lawsuit. How do you know if you qualify? It's as simple as answering a few questions about your health history. There's no cost and no obligation and the consultation is confidential. Don't wait because every state has a statue to limitations on filing personal injury lawsuits.