Fosamax, Boniva & Actonel Linked To Jaw Bone Disorders

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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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Osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel are now being linked to osteonecrosis (bone death) in the jaw according to a new study by the University of Southern California’s School of Dentistry.

The study’s findings

According to a study by the University of Southern California’s School of Dentistry (USCD), osteoporosis (a bone disease that leads to an increased risk of fracture) drugs such as Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel that are prescribed to nearly 30 million Americans each year may be the cause of jaw bone death, or osteonecrosis. The drugs, also known as bisphoshonates, became part of a USCD study after patients taking the drugs started showing unusual jaw infections.

According to an article in Science Daily ( and the April issue of the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery (, the USCD looked at microbial biofilms (which relates to bacteria) in the bones of patients taking these drugs and found a correlation between the drugs and jaw bone disorders.

Bisphosphonate manufacturers

The following companies manufacturer bisphosphonates:

  • Fosamax – manufactured by Merck & Company.
  • Boniva – manufactured by Roche and GlaxoSmithKline and made popular due to its celebrity endorser, Sally Field
  • Actonel – manufactured by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi Pharmaceuticals.
  • Skelid – manufactured by Sanofi Pharmaceuticals
  • Didronel – manufactured by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals
  • Reclast and Zometa – manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals

What is Osteonecrosis?

Osteonocrosis is bone death resulting from poor blood supply to an area of bone. Often known as jaw death, it is a condition that has been linked to patients on bisphosphonate therapy and may also result in pain, swelling, infection of soft tissue, drainage, loosening of teeth, exposed bone, numbness, and heaviness of the jaw. The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and pharmaceutical giant Novartis, warned dental professionals in 2004 about a possible link to osteonecrosis and bisphosphonates over Novartis’s drug Aredia which is no longer available to U.S. consumers.

Lawsuits continue to be filed

According to news reports, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel and many more are likely to be filed in the future.

If you or a loved one have taken any one of the drugs and have been diagnosed with osteonecrosis, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of the law to discuss your situation. Consultations are strictly confidential, free of charge and without obligation. To contact a qualified attorney, please click here. We may be able to help.

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