Actonel, a drug categorized as a Bisphosphonate, has been prescribed to treat or prevent osteoporosis or Paget’s disease of the bone.

Millions of Americans have been prescribed the drug, including post-menopausal women and men suffering from osteoporosis. Actonel works by altering the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in the body. It slows bone loss while increasing bone mass, which prevents fractures.

Actonel is manufactured by Proctor & Gamble and works by increasing the amount of bone available by slowing down replacement of old bone.

Because of the way Actonel and other similar drugs work, serious side effects have been discovered. Actonel has been linked to a serious condition known as Osteonecrosis or dead jaw. This condition consists of bone loss in the jaw, especially after having work done on the patient’s mouth by a dentist or oral surgeon. This condition occurs when bone tissue fails to heal after tooth extraction. The bone is exposed, which leads to infection and jaw fractures. Symptoms that go with Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, and slow healing after an injury or surgery.

There have also been reports of patients being more likely to develop ONJ if they have suffered from cancer or have been treated with Chemotherapy, radiation or steroids. This condition has affected 10 percent of patients on Actonel or other Bisphosphonates.

Actonel has also been linked to serious gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal issues. In a multinational trial of 3,232 women ranging in age from 38 to 85 who took Actonel, there was a 12.2 percent increase in abdominal pain, 10.8 percent increase in diarrhea, 10.8 percent increase in dyspepsia and 2.7 percent increase in gastritis. Musculoskeletal issues included 28 percent reported back pain, 23.7 percent reported arthralgia, 6.7 percent reported myalgia and 5.3 percent reported bone pain.

Side effects may include:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia
  • Gastritis
  • Esophagitis
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophageal and Gastric Ulcers
  • Back Pain
  • Arthralgia
  • Myalgia
  • Bone Pain
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