Actonel, manufactured by Warner Chilcott, is a bisphosphonate, in the same class of drugs as Fosamax, Aredia, and Zometa. It’s used to treat osteoporosis, and is designed to increase bone mass, thereby preventing fractures. Like other bisphosphonates, however, it is increasingly linked to jaw and bone problems.
Actonel Jaw Problems: Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Many scientists and researchers believe that Actonel causes osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). This is a serious complication that occurs in people who have dental procedures or lose teeth while on Actonel. The bone fails to heal after the tooth is extracted, the tissue becomes infected, and it can spread throughout the jaw. This is a truly horrible disease.
Actonel Bone Problems: Femur Fractures
Research also indicates that users of Actonel have a much higher risk of fractures just below the hip. The American Society of Bone and Mineral Research examined 310 cases of a rare type of thigh bone fractures, and found that in 291 cases (94%) the patient had been taking bisphosphonates. The FDA has also noted that using bisphosphonates for over four years increases the risks of these types of fractures.
Other Actonel Problems
Reports to the FDA indicate that users of Actonel may have a higher than normal risk of esophageal cancer, bone and muscle pain, and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and serious eye disorders (anterior uveitis and scleritis). Our lawyers are investigating those injuries, as well.
There aren’t a significant number of Actonel lawsuits yet, but the continuing experience of the Fosamax litigation might be instructive. The lawsuits were largely consolidated into a type of Fosamax class action known as an MDL (multidistrict litigation). The theory is that the cases all deal with mostly the same problem, so one judge would watch over them prevent duplicative discovery, and then possibly encourage settlement once the facts are known. There have been a number of test trials in the Fosamax cases—victims have won some (including an $8 million verdict), and the manufacturer has won more. Both sides are still fighting very hard, but it’s possible that the parties might start settling the cases before long.
If you have been taking Actonel, Fosamax, Zometa, or any other bisphosphonate, and have suffered osteonecrosis of the jaw, bone fractures, or other injuries, contact our prescription drug lawyers at 1.800.553.8082, or send us a message