Fosamax, Actonel, Didronel & Boniva Linked To Esophageal Cancer

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Some of the most popular osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, Didronel and Boniva are now being linked to esophageal cancer by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

NEJM reports patient deaths

According to the FDA, several osteoporosis drugs are now being linked with esophageal cancer. Among them are Merck & Company’s Fosamax, Proctor & Gamble’s Actonel and Didronel and Roche’s Boniva. A recent letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported that 23 patients taking Fosamax have developed esophageal tumors; eight of those people have died. It also reported that 21 cases of tumors have been reported in Europe and Japan and six of those have been linked to Actonel, Didronel and Boniva. Six non-American patients have died.

Dangerous drugs

It is estimated that nearly 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, a disease which makes bones prone to fracture, and that the threat of osteoporosis is likely three times that amount. While the disease mostly affects women, men can also be affected. Some of the drugs most commonly used to treat osteoporosis are Fosamax, Actonel, Didronel and Boniva, which are bone strengtheners known as bisphosphonates. Here is some background information on each:

  • Fosamax. Manufactured by Merck & Company, Fosamax has been on the market since 1995. It is known generically as alendronate and is used to combat and reverse bone loss. The drug has numerous possible side effects which can be viewed here.Fosamax has also been linked to a variety of serious side effects such as osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and an increased rate of irregular heartbeats. Merck & Company face numerous lawsuits, the first of which begins later this year.
  • Actonel. Manufactured by Proctor & Gamble, Actonel has been on the market since 2000. It is known generically as risedronate and is also used to combat bone loss. The drug has numerous possible side effects which can be viewed here.
  • Didronel. Also manufactured by Proctor & Gamble, Didronel has been on the market since 1997. It is known generically as etidronate and is indicated for the treatment of symptomatic Paget’s disease of bone and in the prevention and treatment of heterotopic ossification following total hip replacement or due to spinal cord injury. It has not been approved to treat osteoporosis. Side effects can be viewed here.
  • Boniva. Manufactured by Roche, Boniva has been on the market since 2005. It is known generically as ibandronate and is used to combat bone loss. The drug’s side effects can be viewed here.

If you’ve been injured due to one of these drugs, contact an experienced fosamax attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.

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