Anybody here using Phosomax or Actenol?

  1. Just got my bonedensity results in and am definaltely osteopenic, just bordering osteoporosis. Was borderline last time a couple years ago, but there has been a substantial thinning since then.

    No, I don't do HRT, and won't have any part of it. Eat pretty healthy, and tried calcium/D supplements but hated how they bloat and constipate me. Yuk. So I quit.
    I need to hit the bowflex again, and be more consistent with it... it has so MANY benefits, building bonemass being one of them.

    So.. anybody here use the above meds ? My PA recommended looking into them and letting her know if I wanted to go that route. Thought I'd get some input before I decided... pros, cons, side effects, etc. Looked it up in the PDR already, but there's nothing like the real word of mouth testemonials !
  2. Visit jnette profile page

    About jnette, ASN, EMT-I

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 21,359; Likes: 7,204
    Home Health Patient Education Resource Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in Hemodialysis, Home Health


  3. by   VickyRN
    I would not recommend taking Fosamax.
    From the venerable Dr. John Lee (natural progesterone advocate and pioneer):
    A recent study in January in the New England Journal of Medicine - compared Fosamax with oestrogen and progestin. It is a medicine which is number eight in a line of similar medicines which have all failed - all previous seven have failed. They are called diphosphonates or bisphosphonates. They are ingredients in the bath tub powder that you use to get the grey line off the bath tub that forms. The grey line is dead skin cells and it plasters itself on the enamel of the bathtub, and is difficult to remove. They have a drug - a chemical - that eats human cells, so they add it to the bath powder, and that is a bisphosphonate.
    The researchers are giving it in these pills to people, because it also inhibits the osteoclasts that are absorbing bone, and therefore (theoretically) it should work when people are 50-51 years old and going through menopause, to block this resorption of old bone. The study was done in England, Europe and the United States - a huge study - for only two years. This is the loss in the bones that occurs in people age 50-51 who are not being treated at all; and this is what happens to the Fosamax group. No change, no improvement, no nothing - it just holds it.
    Here is what happens when you use an old-fashioned treatment with a little oestrogen and a little progestin which is very much like progesterone; progesterone is better of course, but this is a synthetic version, and it is one which is used in Europe very much like real progesterone, but not quite as good. They gained about 2% in two years; and the Fosamax people were less than 1%; and the ones that did not have anything, less. You see the Fosamax people? They lost over 1% or 2% at a time in their life when the Fosamax should have been the prime treatment! Fosamax is a sham, it does dissolve human cells; there are over 200 cases in England already where it has dissolved holes through people's oesophagus and stomach!
    This is the oestrogen and progestin; and this is the hip with oestrogen and progestin - far better; than Fosamax and these are the untreated ones. My point is: none of these match real progesterone, but they are all better than Fosamax. And they want to sell you $100,000,000 worth of Fosamax to regain the cost that they had in getting it cleared by the officials to make it legal!
    I want to point out one thing here: the source of the oestrogen in Premarin, as Dr Bond said, is in pregnant mares' urine. Isn't that nice?
  4. by   VickyRN
    Another comment about Fosamax from Dr. Mercola:
    Dr. Mercola's Comment:

    Dr. John Lee is the physician who wrote "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About PRE Menopause" He is very strongly opposed to the use of Fosamax, and I could not agree with him more on this issue. It is interesting that Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, funded both of these studies and both appeared in two well respected medical journals the same week.

    Fosamax is in the same chemical class (phosphonate) that is used in the cleaners used to remove soap scum from your bath tub. This is a metabolic poison that actually kills the osteoclasts. These are the cells that remove your bone so your osteoblasts can actually rebuild your bone.

    It is quite clear that if you kill these cells your bone will get denser. What these studies do not show is that four years later the bone actually becomes weaker even though it is more dense.

    This is because bone is a dynamic structure and requires the removal and REPLACEMENT of new bone to stay strong. Fosamax does NOT build ANY new bone. The true solution, as I have reviewed in previous newsletters, is to go on natural progesterone. One can review Dr. Lee's book for more information.

    Progesterone is the only substance that I know of that will actually increase bone strength and density. It does this by serving as a growth promoter for the osteoblasts, or the cells that build bone. Of course, it would be wise to have the other basics in place such as adequate amounts of calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D and copper, in addition to exercise and avoidance of items that will damage bone like soda pop and sugar.

    This is one of the main reasons you will not find studies published on natural progesterone as it is a natural substance which can not be patented and no huge amounts of profit can be realized.

    However, please note that in general I am not a fan of the progesterone creams for reasons previously mentioned.

    Another enlightening quote about Fosamax from Dr. Mercola:

    These biphosphonate drugs are the same chemicals that are used to clean the soap scum from your bath tub. They work by killing osteoclasts in the bone which are responsible for remodeling the bone. The theory is that if you can prevent bone loss you will have stronger bone. Unfortunately, the theory doesn't hold up. The osteoclasts are metabolically poisoned (killed) and the bone does become denser. Unfortunately the dense bone does not translate to stronger bone. Although the bone is denser it is actually more brittle and more susceptible to fracture. In the meantime though the drug companies are making a mint and it will be years before they are finally taken off of the market.
    Last edit by VickyRN on Apr 6, '04
  5. by   jnette
    WOW. Thanx, Vicky ! Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting, indeed ! I've always been one to avoid meds if at all possible, and my PA knows this full well... why she said to think it over and decide for myself.

    If it only removes the clasts, but does not promote regrowth of new bone, then it's really not doig a whole lot, is it? Well, waiting to hear more on the subject if anyone else wants to pipe in, but I sure like to hear the WHOLE story before I go do anything I might regret. Don't want to fool around with my hormones, either though. I'm eight years postmenopausal and have done just FINE so far... just some nightsweats left, never had any moodswings at all, nothing. Don't want to mess with it now.

    Guess I'll go back to the calcium and D... any recommendations as to which product is best out of all the ones on the market?

    And of course, back to weights... always good no matter for what !

    Thanx again for the informative article ! :kiss
  6. by   VickyRN
    Another short article about Fosamax from Dr. Mercola's web site:
    Fosamax May Damage Liver

    Doctors from Israel describe a 71-year-old woman who developed liver damage 2 months after starting Fosamax, the popular bone-resorption inhibitor, used in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and they feel strongly that the drug was the cause or a major contributing factor.

    Some of the known side effects of Fosamax are gastric and esophageal inflammation, but renal failure, ocular damage, skin reactions, and hypocalcemia have also been reported.

    A case of hepatitis that developed after treatment with alendronate was recently reported in a 77-year-old woman.

    The authors admit that the mechanism by which alendronate may cause liver damage is not known, although one possibility is that the fosomax inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, which may alter liver function.

    Regardless of the mechanism, physicians treating patients with a fosamax or related drugs should be alert to the possibility of liver dysfunction and monitor properly for it.

    The New England Journal of Medicine August 3, 2000;343:365-366.



    Although this is only a case report and it is likely that the 71 year old woman was highly compromised from other factors, it does illustrate the fact that Fosamax is NOT something that should be used. The report does maintain validity though because the target market for this drug really is 50-70 year old women.

    Bone building is a fine balance of a number of factors. Fosamax is very similar to estrogen's mode of action. Estrogen inhibits osteoclasts while Fosamax actually KILLS them. Osteoclasts cells in the bone that actually remove the bone so it can be rebuilt. If these cells are damaged the bone gets much denser. The fallacy in medical thinking though is that a denser bone is a stronger bone.

    This is just not true. Even though the bones are denser they are actually weaker because they have not been allowed to remold themselves and readjust to the constantly changing forces that are applied to bones. This will actually increase the risk of fracture over time.

    NATURAL Progesterone is normally required to stimulate the osteoblasts or the bone rebuilding cells. The synthetic version, or Provera, does not provide this benefit.

    I had previously recommended the cream version of natural progesterone but for most people I cannot recommend this approach any more, as it will in some people cause abnormally high levels of progesterone in the body that actually cause a reverse effect and stop it from working at all.

    The optimal solution is to normalize the adrenal glands through a variety of techniques. If a woman still has ovaries they can normally be encouraged to produce appropriate amounts of estrogens and progesterone to build strong bones.

    The important tools for normalizing the adrenal glands include an optimal diet, getting to bed by 10 PM and a mechanism for coping with the stress in one's life. Salivary hormone testing is a useful tool to monitor the effectiveness of the interventions.

    Exercise and large amounts of vegetables are likely to be more important the mineral replacements. Most people automatically assume that calcium is the most important factor to address bone density. I have seen a large number of women consuming calcium supplements that did not have good bone density as these other issues were not addressed.

    Vitamin D is also essential to the formation of strong bones. There is an article that will likely go in next week's newsletter that provides some interesting conjecture that vitamin D should not even really be called a vitamin but is more appropriately identified as a precursor to a steroid hormone. A good mineral replacement however is probably wise.

    Magnesium, manganese, zinc, silicon and boron are also important nutrients that should be in the supplement.

    If you do decide to take Fosamax, be sure to ask your doctor to check your liver function at regular intervals.
  7. by   zacarias
    Speaking of Fosamax, my mother is osteopenic and about a two years ago, she started Fosamax for it (she doesn't do hormones due to her being a breast CA survivor). Shortly after this, she had a severe systemic inflammatory attack. I had never seen anything like it. She all of the sudden couldn't walk and could only lie still. Her joints all hurt and I remember one of her PIP joints was all red. Her knees and half up her femur were massively swollen.

    She went on prednisone and it receded; they diagnoses her with RA. But to this day my Mom swears it was the Fosamax that precipitated that event. Anyone have any similar experiences?
  8. by   rodten
    This is difficult for me to write but I really think it's necessary for you to know. My mother was diagnosed with Myastania Gravis in June of '04. Her neurologist put her on Azathioprine, Prednesone, Mestinon and Imuran to treat the neurological disease. The first month and a half my mother had difficulty seeing. Early in the day her vision was fine but in the afternoon she had double vision. Prior to this event her health was perfect. Sixty days into the treatment her vision improved to the point her doctor told her she was in remission. She called me and was shouting on the phone that she was in remission. She was so excited to get back to her normal routines. While at her doctors office he told her that he wanted to put her on one more drug to improve her bone density and counteract the effects of the prednesone. This drug was Fosomax. He instructed her to take the pill one time per week. Her Dr. visit was on a Monday. During this week my mother resumed her normal activities driving to bingo, going shopping basically everything she use to do. Saturday morning she to took her first Fosomax pill. Saturday night she became ill. She developed constipation and severe leg pain. By Monday her legs were swollen and she could barely stand. My sister applied asper cream to her legs and rubbed them hours at a time. Bruises started appearing on her arms and legs. Finally my sister took her to her neurologist and his response was to have my mother perform certain exercises for what reason I don't know. My sister said my mother was in such pain she couldn't complete the exercises. The doctor insisted my mother to perform them before she could leave his office. She did but with alot of effort and pain. Her doctor advised my mother the pain was normal and to take Ibuprofin. My mom left his office and was in the emergency room the next day. Subsequently Mom was admitted to the hospital for Septic shock. The doctors said her intestines had burst and leaked poison into her system. Ten days later she passed away. I have gone through all of the emotions one experiences when you lose a loved one, anger being one of them. I want to apply this anger towards a positive path. A path of information informing you out there of my family's experience with this drug Fosomax. Had I done as much research on this drug as I have now prior to my mother taking it I would have never let her. The pain she encountered after taking Fosomax was unbearable. It got to the point where my mother couldn't stand for anyone to touch her legs. Her doctor found out my mother was in the hospital two days after she was admitted. He visited her room and told my family that he checked with his peers and they all agreed that fosomax did not cause her illness. He was apologetic that she was in this condition but couldn't explain what happened. I am not a medical person but the obvious question for me is what happened between the week my mother was diagnosed as being in remission and being admitted to the hospital. The only marked event during that week is she took the fosomax drug as instructed by her physician and later on she died. There isn't anything I can do to bring her back but I can tell your homework before you even think about taking the drug fosomax. In my heart of hearts I have no doubt that fosomax caused the lining of my mothers intestines to burst. The other drugs she was on reduced her white blood cell count and when the infection entered her system she had no way to fight it. I am sure that most people who experience a loss like this are emotionally drained, as I am. But I think it's important for the public to know this. I only wish someone would have told my mother.