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Drugs & Devices > Zometa

Zometa, manufactured marketed by Novertis, is used as a support medication to treat multiple micloma and symptoms of cancer such as hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels) or to reduce complications like fractures or pain produced by bone metastasis (spread of cancer to the bone). The drug belongs to a class called bisphosphonates, which also includes medications such as Aredia, Actonel, and Fosamax. Zometa was introduced in U.S. market in 2001 and had more than $1 billion in global sales. Zometa is usually gives as an infusion into the vein (intravenous, IV).

Problems Associated with Zometa

A link has been discovered between Zometa and severe bone disease known as Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). Now ONJ is considered as a serious side effect of Zometa.

ONJ involves the loss or break down of the jawbone. It’s a disfiguring and extremely painful condition. Recent studies have revealed that the condition of jaw death may be intensified or triggered by dental work such as oral surgery and tooth extraction. Users and Zometa and other bisphosphonates should be aware of the potential symptoms of ONJ such as heavy feelings in the jaw, exposed jaw bone, loosening of teeth, pain infection, swelling and numbness.

According to a report published in the journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery, out of 63 persons with ONJ studied by them, 56 had been treated with the intravenous bisphosphonates Zometa. Additional 6 cases of ONJ were linked to Fosamax and one case was associated with Actonel. This report prompted FDA and Novertis to issue a warning to health care professionals on September 24, 2004, containing informations about bisphosphonates and the risks of ONJ. The letter also suggests avoiding invasive dental procedures while using the drug. However, there is no indication whether to stop the use of Zometa, or whether the other bisphosphonates can decrease the risk of ONJ.

Novertis officials have received 875 reports of ONJ from December 2002 to February 2005. Novertis says that they are studying to see whether a link between the Osteonecrosis of the Jaw and Zometa really exists.

If anyone has noticed adverse side effects such as Osteonecrosis of the Jaw after using Zometa, they have to contact a physician at once. They may also contact a lawyer to proceed legally.

Free initial consultation - If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, illness or death, that seems to be associated with Zometa, please fill out and submit the form at the right or contact us today at 1-800-780-2686

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