Fosamax Warnings

by Sarah McHattie on December 9, 2008

Patients who start taking Fosamax are going to receive a standard list of warnings – just as they would with any other medication. Below you will find a list of warnings as issued by Merck – the maker of Fosamax – as well as other warnings and why they have been issued.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with Fosamax are:

  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • nausea

Within the warnings from Merck are also the more serious side effects to be aware of:

  • jaw pain
  • muscle or bone pain
  • black stools
  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • new and worsening heartburn
  • ulcers of the esophagus
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • symptoms of an allergic reaction: rash, itching, swelling, trouble breathing

Because of these warnings, patients who have been on corticosteroids, hormone replacements treatments and anti-inflammatory medications – including over the counter ibuprofen – need to be sure that they are discussing these other medications that they take.

American Association of Endodonists Warning

The AAE has come forward to discuss additional warnings that should be made about the use of Fosamax. The American Association of Endodontists were among the first to come out with a specific warning about Fosamax and osteonecrosis of the jaw. In a statement issued in March of 2006, the AAE said:

“The AAE is at the forefront of this emerging complication because endodontists have special expertise in finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose,” said AAE President Marc Balson, D.D.S. “With this position statement, we hope to ensure the highest quality care and safety for patients taking bisphosphonates.”

“Until further information becomes available, the AAE recommends that all patients taking bisphosphonates be considered at some risk for ONJ, recognizing that the magnitude of the risk varies by patient,” he added. “The AAE also encourages patients taking bisphosphonates to inform their dental care providers and consult with specialists as needed.”

This relationship between Fosamax and osteonecrosis of the jaw has also been cited by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Sciences Authority. It is a warning that is similar to that released by Novartis Oncology about the use of injectable biphosphate medications similar in structure to Fosamax.

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