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Fosamax Might Help Increase the Lifespan of Artificial Joints.

Fosamax Might Help Increase the Lifespan of Artificial Joints

Fosamax Pillsprovocative new study conducted in the United Kingdom suggests that bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax may help extend the life of artificial joints in patients who take the medication regularly for about six months before undergoing surgery.

Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs have come under fire, however, for causing atypical femur fractures and jawbone death in patients who take them for extended periods of time.  Some patients have sued Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, for injuries they’ve sustained while taking the drug.

Fosamax Users Half as Likely to Need Revision Surgery

Many recipients of artificial hip and knee implants have been experiencing difficulties in recent years, particularly with metal-on-metal hip replacement implants. Artificial joint registries in the U.K. and Australia were responsible for shining a light on this problem, prompting one major artificial joint manufacturer to recall some models of its hip replacement implants. Doctors in the U.K. began following patients who were prescribed Fosamax and other drugs in the bisphosphonate class, and found that these patients were less likely to experience failure or other difficulties with their artificial joints.

Nigel K. Arden, a professor of rheumatic diseases at Oxford University conducted the study, which was published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Arden and his colleagues followed 42,000 patients through the U.K.’s artificial joint registry who had joint replacement surgery from 1986 to 2006. Five percent of of those patients were classed as bisphosphonate users, and less than one percent of those patients had to undergo a revision procedure during that time period as compared to just over two percent of non-users. Several previous studies have suggested that bisphosphonates like Fosamax could be beneficial to artificial joint recipients, but Arden’s is the first study that followed patients for a prolonged period of time.

“In the U.K. bisphosphonates are being increasingly used when a hip or knee replacement has already started to fail,” Arden said, “What this study says is that we should use it for primary prevention.” Arden believes the benefit drugs like Fosamax provide is that they suppress the inflammation that can occur in the tissues surrounding an artificial joint, which speeds up weakening of the remaining bone.

Joint Replacement Patients Must Remain Mindful of Fosamax Side Effects

Dr. Joseph M. Lane, professor of orthopedic surgery and chief of the Metabolic Bone Disease Service at the Weill Cornell College of Medicine Hospital for Special Surgery in New York is encouraged by this research of bisphosphonates and joint replacement surgery, but advises patients not to forget that drugs like Fosamax are associated with femur fractures, jawbone death and other serious side effects. The questions about which patients will benefit from taking the drugs and for how long, remain unanswered.

“These drugs are not without their side effects,” Lane said, “But this is a provocative study that should out pressure on the bone community to step up to the plate and answer these questions.”

RLG Represents Injured Fosamax Users

If you have been taking Fosamax for an extended period of time, and have suffered a femur fracture, it could be because of the medication, and you may be eligible for compensation by a femur fracture lawsuit against Merck. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group can help. Our Fosamax lawyers have over 25 years of collective experience advocating for clients in consumer product injury and mass tort cases. Please fill out our contact form or call us at 1 (877) 332-2347, and one of our lawyers will be in touch.

For more information on whether you have grounds to file a Fosamax lawsuit, download our free brochure.