More Troubles for Osteoporosis Drug Fosamax

A few years ago, Merck’s Fosamax was linked to jaw necrosis. Now, the FDA is looking into Fosamax’s potential link to esophageal cancer. Fosamax has been linked to 23 cases of esophageal cancer since the drug’s inception in 1995. 23 cases is not statistically significant. However, the fact that the FDA is going to investigate the link is noteworthy and is another blow to Merck’s popular osteoporosis pharmaceutical.
Fosamax belongs to a family of drugs known as bisphosphonates. These drugs are known to be associated with esophagitis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the tube carrying food to the stomach.
Diane Wysowski, a member of the FDA’s drug risk assessment division has said that doctors should refrain from using Fosamax and other bisphosphonates in those patients who’ve been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, which is a change in the lining that leads to the stomach. It is often found in people with acid reflux disease and itself increases the risk of cancer.