Written by Andrew Sarski on January 14, 2011
What is Osteonecrosis?
Osteonecrosis is characterized by the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bones, which causes the bones to die and eventually collapse. Osteonecrosis can occur in one area or many, including the upper leg, upper arm, knees and shoulders, but osteonecrosis of the jaw is the most severe form of the disease. Osteonecrosis of the jaw, also known as ONJ, is a severe condition that has recently been linked to the use of bisphosphonate medications, which are prescribed to treat osteoporosis. Under normal circumstances, bone continuously breaks down and rebuilds, replacing old bone with new to maintain the skeleton’s strength. However, in an individual with osteonecrosis, bone tissue breaks down faster than the body can repair them, causing severe complications.
Causes of Osteonecrosis
Unfortunately, consumers may continue taking bisphosphonate medications, unaware of the dangerous side effects associated to the drugs, including osteonecrosis of the jaw. Drug manufacturing companies should be held responsible for the harmful risks of their medications and the injuries sustained by consumers of their products. The only way to receive fair compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering as a result of osteonecrosis of the jaw is to hire a defective drug lawyer to represent your case.
Symptoms & Treatment of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Osteonecrosis of the jaw specifically affects the maxilla and mandible, resulting in damage and death to areas of the jaw bone. In the early stages of the disease, an individual may not experience any noticeable symptoms. As the disease progresses, though, severe pain is common and bone may actually be exposed in the jaw. Other symptoms of ONJ include:
- Pain, swelling or infection of the gums or jaw
- Gum loss
- Loose teeth
- Numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw
- Drainage of jaw abscesses
- Exposed bone showing through missing gum tissue
There is currently no specific treatment for osteonecrosis of the jaw. Surgerical procedures can be performed in order to repair ONJ damage, but the procedure is difficult and risky. In some cases, large portions of the jaw bone may have to be removed, leaving the patient unable to chew solid foods. Some people with ONJ have recovered after discontinuing use of bisphosphonate medications, but the complications associated with the condition typically linger. Some patients may try antibiotics to relieve pain, but there is no clinical evidence that this method is effective.
Defective Drug ONJ Legal Help
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 10,000 to 20,000 people develop osteonecrosis in the United States each year. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a serious disease and should be treated as such. The condition can cause severe complications for an affected individual, including a failure of the jaw to heal properly after surgery and a risk of developing a catastrophic infection that can result in the death of large portions of the jaw. The most common cause of ONJ is the use of bisphosphonate medications, drugs that have been approved by the FDA but have the potential to cause devastating harm to a consumer. Unfortunately, victims of ONJ and other forms of osteonecrosis may suffer from more than just physical pain and suffering; these diseases may prevent the individual from returning to work, resulting in loss of income, and can significantly decrease his quality of life. Osteonecrosis victims should consider how a lawsuit can benefit them, as they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from osteonecrosis, particularly osteonecrosis of the jaw, contact a defective drug attorney to discuss your case. An experienced defective drug lawyer will be familiar with the history of defective drugs cases, making him an extremely valuable resource in the construction of your lawsuit.