For How Long?
Fosamax has long been known to have an incredibly long terminal half-life in bone. Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, has conducted clinical trials which show that the the half-life of Fosamax in bone is 10.9 years. Despite Fosamax's well established long half-life in bone, Merck insists that the biologic effects of Fosamax quickly dissipate after the last pill is taken. Recently published research, however, shows that Merck's claim of "no lingering effect" is unfounded. In the July 2011 edition of the medical journal BONE, metabolic bone researchers revealed that Fosamax's active ingredient alendronate continued to show up in urine samples for as long as 1.5 years after the last Fosamax pill was taken and that the residual levels of alendronate continued to suppress levels of bone turnover in the patients. (BONE 2011 June 30 [epub ahead of print]: Prolonged Bisphosphonate Release after Treatment in Women with Osteoporosis.) Because Fosamax has long been linked with the oversuppression of bone turnover, which in turn is linked to the risk for developing osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femur fractures, this research will have important implications for both the treatment of Fosamax patients and identification of those patients' risk periods for developing these potential adverse events.
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