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Diseases > Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) is also known by several other names, such as avascular or aseptic necrosis of the mandible/ maxilla, Jaw Death, Dead Jaw disease or Bisphossy Jaw. ONJ is a disfiguring and disabling condition where the jaw bones suffer literal bone death through infection and rotting. ONJ develops when the jaw fails to heal after minor trauma such as a tooth extraction that results in bone exposure. Causes of ONJ include exposure to bisphosphonates such as used in cancer treatment or osteoperosis medication such as Fosamax, Bonivel, or Actonel.

The onset of ONJ is usually not apparent or asymptomatic for many weeks or months. Also there are a number of ONJ symptoms which often only develop after there is trauma to the mouth.

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Merck Sued in Canada Over Fosamax Drug, Law Firm Says (Update1)

By Joe Schneider

May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Merck & Co., the drugmaker defending about 27,000 lawsuits filed by users of the painkiller Vioxx, was accused in a Canadian lawsuit of failing to warn consumers its drug Fosamax may damage jaw bones, a law firm said.

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Bisphosphonate-associated necrosis of the jaws
Oral bisphosphonates are commonly given to patients exhibiting osteoporosis. They are used to enhance deposition of bone and prevent the loss of bone. Commonly used oral bisphosphonates include tiludronate (Skelid), alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel), etidronate (Didronel), and ibandronate (Boniva) Read More

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Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)
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