Fosamax: Femur Fractures, or Femurs Fractured by Fosamax? or Fractured Femurs Fosamaxed (Alliteration is fun)
Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Atelvia are types of drugs known as a bisphosphonates. Typically these drugs are prescribed by doctors in order to combat osteoporosis, which is loss of bone density. Osteoporosis weakens the bone and makes it more susceptible to breakage. The bones in your body go through a constant process of renewal. Osteoclasts break down and remove old bone, while osteoblasts create new bone. This allows the body to renew and repair bone. Those with osteoporosis suffer from a diminished ability to keep this balance. Bone is reabsorbed faster than it is replaced. Bisphosphonates work by inhibiting the body’s ability to break down and reabsorb bone. Bisphosphonates, like Fosamax, target the osteoclasts (bone reabsorbers) and cause them to die. This increases bone density because the osteoblasts (bone creators) continue their work of producing bone.
One possible explanation of the relationship between bisphosphonates and atypical femur fractures is that the use of bisphosphonates may prevent the body from correctly repairing minor damage. As we walk, run, and jump the femur is subject to substantial stress. Generally the renewal process prevents the daily wear and tear from accumulating into any serious damage. Use of bisphosphonates inhibits this process. Old damage to the bone is not repaired; rather new bone is simply placed around it. This may make the bone big, but it may also be brittle. Micro-damage accumulates throughout the bone, eventually causing the bone to fail in the atypical method encountered by doctors.
The FDA safety announcement requests that patients who are taking bisphosphonates like Fosamax notify their doctors of new or different hip or thigh pain. The FDA also requests that patients report any side effects of medication to their MedWatch program. MedWatch contact information is provided below:
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