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Rhode Island Woman Claims Fosamax Caused Painful Thigh Break

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Merck is facing yet another Fosamax lawsuit. This time, the national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who took Fosamax (alendronate) and suffered a right femur fracture, allegedly due to the bone loss medication.

Prescribed to fight bone loss in patients with osteoporosis and other conditions, the bisphosphonate drug has been linked to increased risk of atypical femur fractures. The law suit names Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. and Merck & Co. as defendants.

According to the complaint, the woman experienced a right subtrochanteric femur fracture in June 2010 after taking Fosamax consistently and, as prescribed, for years. The lawsuit states that the fracture is a direct result of long-term Fosamax treatment.

The lawsuit also alleges that, in addition to the woman suffering a thigh bone break, she also suffered an array of significant consequences from having taken Fosamax, including severe mental and physical pain and suffering, permanent injuries, emotional distress, economic loss due to medical expenses, and living related expenses due to a new lifestyle. Had Merck appropriately disclosed the risks related to using the drug over an extended period of time, the plaintiff would never have Fosamax, enduring subsequent complications, the lawsuit also alleged.

The lawsuit further claimed that Merck knew or should have known that long-term Fosamax use would make bones more susceptible to fractures and, rather than warning the public and its consumers, the suit alleges, Fosamax was touted as an effective way in which to reduce osteoporosis-induced fracture risks in post-menopausal women.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the label on Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs, such as Actonel and Boniva, in October 2010. The safety information was modified to include the risk of atypical femur fractures and, recently, the agency questioned the efficacy of long-term bisphosphonate therapy. According to an FDA review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is little evidence to support the use of bisphosphonates for longer than five years. The review was based on data from 2,342 post-menopausal women.

The Archives of Internal Medicine also published research highlighting the risks of bisphosphonate therapy. A study published this May compared patients with different types of femur fractures, finding that 82 percent of patients with atypical femur fractures had taken bisphosphonates.

As NewsInferno recently wrote, another study of adverse event reports involving Fosamax and other bisphosphonates found risks for esophageal cancer linked with these drugs may be greater than first believed. Last summer, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication to update the public on its ongoing review of the possible association between oral bisphosphonates and an increased risk of esophageal cancer. At that time, the agency noted that the two studies it reviewed had reached conflicting conclusions. While the FDA said it believed the benefits of bisphosphonates continued to outweigh their risks, it acknowledged that further study of the issue was needed; its safety review is ongoing.

The lawsuit was filed on June 22nd in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Atlantic County Law Division (Docket No. L-4300-12).

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