Fosamax (Alendronate) is a type of drug known as biphosphonate and is used to treat osteoporosis in post menopausal women. Although these drugs are designed to strengthen bones, for some reasons not yet understood, they can have the opposite effect and weaken bones or cause a serious bone condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw. The Food and Drug Administration and Novartis, the manufacturer of bisphosphonates, issued a warning to health care professionals on September 24, 2004. Symptoms of osteonecrosis of the jaw include loosening of teeth, severe infections and swelling. If you take any of these drugs, we strongly advise you to discuss this with your physician and dentist.

Fosamax´┐Ż is a bisphosphonate medication used for bone loss. However, similar bisphosphonates have been implicated in the serious necrosis of the jaw and other bones, a condition known as "osteonecrosis."

In the U.S. Package Insert for both Aredia and Zometa, the following information on osteonecrosis had previously been added to the Adverse Reactions section under Post-Marketing Experience.

"Cases of osteonecrosis (primarily involving the jaws) have been reported in patients treated with bisphosphonates. The majority of the reported cases are in cancer patients attendant to a dental procedure. Osteonecrosis of the jaw has multiple well documented risk factors including a diagnosis of cancer, concomitant therapies (e.g., chemotherapy, radiotherapy, corticosteroids) and co-morbid conditions (e.g., anemia, coagulopathies, infection, pre-existing oral disease). Although causality cannot be determined, it is prudent to avoid dental surgery as recovery may be prolonged."
Please Note:  The highest risks are for those individuals who have been on IV bisphosphonates and for those taking oral bisphosphonates for at least three years.  Maintaining excellent oral health with regular dental exams and cleanings and proper home care significantly reduces the risks.
Long Island Cosmetic Dentists
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Gary L. Sandler, DDS & Bonnie E. Lipow, DDS
201 Moreland Road, Suite #8
Hauppauge, NY 11788

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