Described as a group of antiresorptive drugs, bisphosphonates are anti-bone loss medications that mainly function by intervening with the body’s natural bone cycle of breakdown and formation to slow down the rate of bone thinning, resulting to sustained or increased bone density and strength, health experts say. They are frequently used by people with osteoporosis, and are sometimes prescribed to people with osteopenia, lesser than usual bone mineral density, or those who face a higher risk of developing the bone disorder than others. However, as they have been proven effective in minimizing the risk of fractures in patients, Fosamax and other similar drugs have also been tied to a string of adverse effects, which in some instances, have paved the way for a series of lawsuits. The Fosamax Injury Lawsuit Center contains news and updates about Fosamax and related side effects.
Bisphosphonates are also used to decrease pain and improve overall bone health in patients with metastasized cancer (cancer that has spread into neighboring sites of the affected area) especially to the bone, medical researchers say. There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests how bisphosphonates may impede further bony complications in metastatic malignant diseases and may even increase survival rate of patients suffering from myeloma with bone lesions.
While they may be taken orally or administered intravenously, most oncologists choose the intravenous administration of bisphosphonates as it is done through a monthly short infusion and does not bring about gastrointestinal problems that most oral bisphosphonates have been associated with oral bisphosphonates. Two of the most commonly used bisphosphonates for metastasized cancer include Aredia with the chemical name pamidronate, and Zometa that goes by its generic equivalent zolendronic acid.
Both manufactured and sold by pharmaceutical company Novartis, Aredia and Zometa are examples of bisphosphonates administered intravenously often used as treatment to hypercalcemia of malignancy (treat high levels of calcium in the blood related to cancer), myeloma, secondary breast and prostate cancer, as well as Paget\’s disease of the bone.
Alendronate, popularly known by its trade name Fosamax, is an oral bisphosphonate drug by Merck & Co. While it is administered differently from Aredia and Zometa, it is also given to relieve bone pain in people suffering from metastatic bone cancer, multiple myeloma, and Paget’s disease of the bone.
Along with the relief offered by these drug treatments are mild to severe side effects that may get better or worse over the course of treatment, according to medical experts. Experts recommend that patients take utmost precaution to possibly minimize their risk of experiencing these side effects and added health problems.