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Osteoporosis Drugs Could Wreck Jaws

Company Report

 January 12 2015, Thousands of women who take medication for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis are in danger of developing a painful and impaired jaw condition. Osteonecrosis of jaw affects some patients who have a tooth removed when they have been prescribed bisphosphonates, the foremost commonly used drugs for osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonates are awfully effective treatment to forestall bone-thinning and scale back the chance of fractures, however they alter the way bone behaves and therefore the effects are often so severe that, in rare cases, women even require reconstructive surgery later.

Osteonecrosis affects one in every 200 patients prescribed bisphosphonates who then have a tooth removed. Nonetheless a worrying number of GPs are not aware of the risks.

The first symptom may be a non-healing socket within the gum following an extraction of tooth, leaving the bare bone exposed and at risk of infection. Sometimes the socket never heals and part of the jawbone has got to be removed, with the necessity for major reconstructive surgery.

If menopausal women are prescribed bisphosphonates increasingly as the population ages then there is a chance that more cases may develop. Alendronic acid is the most frequently prescribed bisphosphonate drug, marketed as Fosamax. Nearly 700,000 patients within the United Kingdom alone take it orally.

Its maker, Merck, has already settled a $27.7 million lawsuit in the United States in 2013 brought by 1,200 patients, admitting it did not know how long patients should stay on the medication. There are no pointers on how long women should take Fosamax, although Merck does recommend a regular medication review and a drug holiday after five years.

Pharmaion’s report “United States Osteoporosis Drugs Market Opportunities, 2011-2021analyses that good practice for any prescribing healthcare professional is to warn patients of the associated risks so that they inform their dentist about their intake of bisphosphonates. The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulated Agency (MHRA) has advised all prescribers to update their care standards and this will help in developing a more conservative approach in the usage of these osteoporosis drugs.


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