Fosamax (Alendronate Sodium Tablets) is a bisphosphonate medication used to increase bone mass, reduce bone fractures, and prevent and treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.
Fosamax is manufactured by Merck & Company.
Cases of osteonecrosis (involving the jaw) have been reported in patients treated with bisphosphonates. The majority of the reported cases are in cancer patients who are having, or have had, a dental procedure.
Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ)is a rare condition that involves the loss, or breakdown, of the jaw bone. ONJ has been reported in patients with cancer receiving treatment, including bisphosphonates, chemotherapy, and/or corticosteroids. The majority of reported cases have been associated with dental procedures such as tooth extraction. A dental examination with appropriate preventive dentistry should be considered prior to treatment with bisphosphonates in patients with concomitant risk factors. While on treatment, these patients should avoid, if possible, invasive dental procedures. No data are available as to whether discontinuation of bisphosphonate therapy reduces the risk of ONJ in patients requiring dental procedures.
Tell both your oncologist and your dentist immediately if you experience any of these symptoms: pain, swelling, or infection of the gums; loosening of teeth; poor healing of the gums, and numbness or the feeling of heaviness in the jaw.
To diagnose osteonecrosis of the jaw, doctors may use x-rays or tests for infection (microbial cultures). Treatments for osteonecrosis of the jaw may include antibiotics, oral rinses, and removable mouth appliances. Minor dental work may be necessary to remove injured tissue and reduce sharp edges of the bone. Surgery is typically avoided because it may make the condition worse.