Hawaiian Woman Claims Using Fosamax Led to Thigh Fracture

A woman in Hawaii has filed suit against Merck & Co. for an injury she claims was the result of taking <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/fosamax">Fosamax. Lois Takamori, who began taking Fosamax in her 50s to prevent bone loss from osteoporosis, claims the drug caused her to break her thigh bone.

“I thought I’d be better, I thought I’d be stronger and better because of it, certainly not worse,” Takamori, now 62, recently told KHNO2. “I can’t walk without a cane so it’s very limiting.”

Fosamax belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, which are supposed to protect post-menopausal women from bone weakening osteoporosis. But recently, research has indicated that taking such drugs over a long period of time can actually make bones more vulnerable to fractures. Last year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) asked the manufacturers of bisphosphonates, including Fosamax, to add information to the “Warnings and Precautions” section of the drugs’ labels describing the risk of atypical thigh fractures. The FDA’s action was prompted by a study of more than 300 women who had such fractures which found that 94 percent had taken bisphosphonates for osteoporosis, and most had been on the drugs for five years or more.

Since then, doctors have started changing the way they prescribe Fosamax and similar drugs, recommending drug holidays for patients who have been taking the medications for a couple of years. Experts have also recommended that drugs like Fosamax not be prescribed to women with to treat osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis, unless other risk factors for fractures exist.

Unfortunately, those precautions did not come in time to help Ms. Takamori. She suffered her fracture in 2009, when she took a simple step in the gym.

“I took one step backward and felt excruciating pain,” she told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It’s a devastating breakage because it doesn’t heal.”

Ms. Takamori says she has undergone multiple surgeries for the fracture.

Unfortunately, Ms. Takamori is not alone, as about 40 similar Fosamax fracture lawsuits are pending in federal courts throughout the U.S. Last month, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated such lawsuit and transferred them to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey for pretrial proceedings. Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr. will preside over those Fosamax fracture lawsuits, as well as any filed in federal court in the future.

Ms. Takamori’s suit is the first Fosamax fracture lawsuit to be filed in Hawaii.

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