A class of drugs, called bisphosphonates, has been linked to a serious, painful and possibly disfiguring condition called osteonecrosis (ONJ or “dead jaw”). This condition involves decay and death of the jawbone. Oral bisphosphonates, including Fosamax, which is manufactured by Merck, are often prescribed to treat osteoperosis in post-menopausal women. Injectable bisphosphonates, including Zometa and Aredia, which are manufactured by Novartis, are generally prescribed to male and female cancer patients who may suffer from excessive calcium in their blood or bone tumors.
The purpose of bisphosphonates like Fosamax, Zometa and Aredia, is to strengthen bone, but the drugs appear to work differently on the jaw bone. Symptoms of osteonecrosis include jaw pain, inflammation, gums that don’t heal, loosening teeth, or a feeling of numbness or heaviness in the jaw. Often, patients with osteonecrosis will fail to heal properly after even minor dental procedures. To investigate claims for osteonecrosis related to Fosamax, Zometa or Aredia, contact our firm for more information.