We want to welcome Dr. Jennifer Schneider to HealthCentrals' OsteoporosisConnection site where we'll be interviewing her about her experiences with Fosamax® and atypical femur fractures (AFF's). I've been following Dr. Schneider's career and story about her experience with Fosamax and I first heard about Dr. Schneider in 2010 when the FDA, and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) released warning information on these AFF's connected to osteoporosis medications called bisphosphonates. Dr. Schneider was also interview by ABC's Diane Sawyer on this subject as well and I believe this interview reached many more in the public who were very interested in this topic. Bisphosphonates include (Boniva®, Actonel®, Fosamax®, Reclast®/Zometa®, Aredia® and Atelvia®). Dr. Schneider has been a Godsend to many who've sustained these fractures by starting an online informational advocacy and support group and continues to bring awareness and help to those in need.
Dr. Schneider's background: In October 2001 I was riding on the subway in New York City when the train jolted as it pulled into a station. As I shifted my weight from my left to my right leg, I felt and heard a crack in my right thigh, and then I fell to the floor. I knew I had broken my femur. The doctors in the emergency room were mystified as to how the strongest bone in the body could just snap. I had had pain in that thigh for 3 months, had seen an orthopedic surgeon and had it x-rayed, but nothing was found. It took me several years to have an explanation. A medical article published in 2005 described several cases of unusual low-impact fractures in people on long-term Fosamax (alendronate) and suggested that the drug could have oversuppressed the normal turnover of bone which is required to keep bones healthy and repair the usual wear and tear on bones, and thus could have caused those fractures. I had been taking Fosamax for more than 6 years for osteopenia (that is, to prevent osteoporosis). It made sense to me. Since then, hundreds of similar cases have occurred.
Bio: Until I retired from patient care 3 years ago, I practiced internal medicine, addiction medicine, and pain medicine in Tucson, AZ. I am certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and am also a Diplomat of the American Academy of Pain Management. I obtained my PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Michigan and my MD from the University of Arizona. I've written numerous articles published in medical journals about the treatment of chronic pain and I wrote a book Living with Chronic Pain for people who have chronic pain.
Help me welcome Dr. Schneider!
Dr. Schneider, I understand you were diagnosed with osteopenia and took Fosamax for that; was this your decision, or did your doctor feel it was the right treatment for your particular t-scores and fracture risk?