GENERIC NAME: ALENDRONATE - ORAL (a-LEN-droe-nate)
BRAND NAME(S): Fosamax
USES: Alendronate is used to prevent and treat certain types of bone loss (osteoporosis) in adults. Osteoporosis causes bones to become thinner and break more easily. Your chance of developing osteoporosis increases as you age, after menopause, or if you are taking corticosteroid medications (such as prednisone) for a long time.This medication works by slowing bone loss. This effect helps maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of broken bones (fractures). Alendronate belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking alendronate and each time you get a refill. Follow the instructions very closely to make sure your body absorbs as much drug as possible and to reduce the risk of injury to your esophagus. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth once a day, after getting up for the day and before taking your first food, beverage, or other medication. Take it with a full glass (6-8 ounces or 180-240 milliliters) of plain water. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not chew or suck on it. Then stay fully upright (sitting, standing, or walking) for at least 30 minutes and do not lie down until after your first food of the day. Alendronate works only if taken on an empty stomach. Wait at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 to 2 hours) after taking the medication before you eat or drink anything other than plain water.Do not take this medication at bedtime or before rising for the day. It may not be absorbed and you may have side effects.Calcium or iron supplements, vitamins, antacids, coffee, tea, soda, mineral water, calcium-enriched juices, and food can decrease the absorption of alendronate. Do not take these for at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 to 2 hours) after taking alendronate.Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each morning. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of long-term use of this medication.
SIDE EFFECTS: Stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, or nausea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: jaw pain, increased or severe bone/joint/muscle pain, new or unusual hip/thigh/groin pain, swelling of joints/hands/ankles/feet, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.This medication may infrequently cause serious irritation and ulcers of the esophagus. If you notice any of the following unlikely but very serious side effects, stop taking alendronate and talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away: new or worsening heartburn, chest pain, pain or difficulty when swallowing.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking alendronate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other bisphosphonates; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: disorders of the esophagus (such as esophageal stricture or achalasia), trouble swallowing, trouble standing or sitting upright for at least 30 minutes, low calcium levels, kidney problems, stomach/intestinal disorders (such as ulcers).Infrequently, people taking bisphosphonates have had serious jawbone problems (osteonecrosis). Poor dental hygiene, poorly fitting dentures, or having certain dental work (such as tooth removal, dental surgery) may increase your risk. Medical conditions (such as gum disease/infection, cancer, anemia) might also increase the risk. If you develop jaw pain, tell your doctor and dentist immediately.Before having any surgery (especially dental procedures), tell your doctor and dentist about this medication and all other products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Your doctor or dentist may tell you to stop taking alendronate before your surgery. Follow all instructions about stopping or starting this medication.This drug is not recommended for use in children. Studies have shown that many children who took this drug had severe side effects such as vomiting, fever, and flu-like symptoms.Caution is advised if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the future. Alendronate may stay in your body for many years. Its effects on an unborn baby are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment with alendronate.It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: See also How to Use section.Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe stomach pain, painful heartburn, pain in the esophagus (chest pain), muscle weakness/cramps, mental/mood changes.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others.Lifestyle changes that help promote healthy bones include increasing weight-bearing exercise, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, and eating well-balanced meals that contain adequate calcium and vitamin D. You may also need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Consult your doctor for specific advice.Laboratory and/or medical tests (X-rays, height measurement, blood mineral levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Latest Women's Health News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top alendronate Related Articles
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
Broken BoneA broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as:
- vertebral compression,
- compound, and
Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
Disease Prevention in Women
Disease prevention in women includes screening tests that are a basic part of prevention medicine. All screening tests are commonly available through your general doctor. Some specialized tests may be available elsewhere.
Drug interactions occur frequently. Get facts about the types of drug interactions, what substances or other things that may interact with drugs such as OTC drug and prescription drugs, vitamins, food(s) (grapefruit), and laboratory tests. Find out how to protect yourself from potential drug interactions.
Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your DrugsImportant information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Didronel (etidronate)Etidronate (Didronel) is a medication prescribed for the treatment of Paget's disease and preventing heterotopic ossification. Off-label uses include the treatment of hypercalcemia associated with cancer, prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis and steroid-induced osteoporosis. Review side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information prior to taking any medication.
Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA or Temporal Arteritis)
Giant cell arteritis, inflammation of blood vessel walls, affects 10%-15% of polymyalgia rheumatica patients. Symptoms of giant cell arteritis include fatigue, weight loss, low-grade fever, jaw pain when chewing, scalp tenderness, and headaches. High doses of cortisone medications are used to treat giant cell arteritis.
Boniva (ibandronate)Boniva (ibandronate) is a medication prescribed for the treatment of osteoporosis in women after menopause. Side effects may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, back pain, tooth disorder, indigestion, dizziness, nausea, and headache. Drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
MenopauseMenopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Menopause QuizThe Menopause Quiz challenges your knowledge about the time in a woman’s life when menstruation ceases. Menopause can bring many physical, mental and sexual challenges to maturing women, but they don’t have to be limiting. Take the Menopause Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms and treatments of what’s known as "the change of life."
Multiple MyelomaMultiple myeloma is a form of cancer that develops in plasma cells, the white blood cells that make antibodies. Symptoms include bone pain, weakness, extreme thirst, nausea, frequent urination, and broken bones. Treatment of multiple myeloma depends upon the staging and symptoms of the disease.
Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis Differences and SimilaritiesArthritis is defined as painful inflammation and joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis and the most common cause of chronic joint pain, affecting over 25 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that involves the entire joint. Osteoporosis is not a type of arthritis. It is a disease that mainly is caused by a loss of bone tissue that is not limited to the joint areas. It is possible for one person to have both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
The differences in the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis include; pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, joint deformity, crackle sounds when the joint is moving, and walking with a limp. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because it can progress for years without signs and symptoms before it is diagnosed, severe back pain, bone fractures, height loss, and difficulty or inability to walk. The differences in the causes of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are that osteoarthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Osteoporosis usually is caused by one or more underlying problems, for example, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Treatment for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are not the same. There is no cure for osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
OsteopeniaOsteopenia is a bone condition characterized by bone loss that is not as severe as in osteoporosis. Bone fracture is the typical symptom of osteopenia, though the condition may be present without symptoms. Treatment involves lifestyle modifications (quitting smoking, not drinking in excess) and ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin D and calcium.
OsteoporosisLearn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
Osteoporosis PictureThinning of the bones with reduction in bone mass due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. See a picture of Osteoporosis and learn more about the health topic.
Osteoporosis QuizWhat are the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of osteoporosis? Quiz yourself about vitamin deficiency, maintaining bone density, and preventing osteoporosis-related fractures.
Paget's DiseasePaget's disease is a chronic bone disorder due to irregular breakdown and formation of bone tissue. Symptoms of Paget's disease include bone pain, headaches and hearing loss, pressure on nerves, increased head size, hip pain, and damage to cartilage of joints.
risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
Risedronate (Actonel, Actonel with Calcium, Atelvia) is a prescription medication used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis, osteoporosis in men, and to prevent and treat osteoporosis caused by steroid medications. Common side effects include:
- Joint pain
- High blood pressure
Drug interactions, dosage, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.