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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Alendronate
Alendronate
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(a LEN droe nate)

Brand Names
Fosamax®

Therapeutic Categories
Bisphosphonate Derivative

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to other bisphosphonates, alendronate, or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you have low calcium levels in your blood, abnormal esophagus (swallowing tube), trouble swallowing.
  • If you are unable to stand or sit up for half an hour.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis (brittle bones) in postmenopausal women.
  • It is used to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis.
  • It is also used to treat osteoporosis caused by taking steroids on a long-term basis, and in Paget's disease.


How does it work?

  • Alendronate reduces normal and abnormal bone destruction.


How is it best taken?

  • Take first thing in the morning.
  • Take with a full glass of plain water at least 30 minutes before the first food, drink, or medicine of the day.
  • Do not drink coffee or orange juice for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicine. These decrease the amount of medicine getting into your system. If possible, take 2 hours before the first meal of the day, but this cannot always be done.
  • Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicine. This will prevent irritation of the esophagus.
  • Swallow tablet whole. Do not chew, break, or crush. May irritate the lining of the mouth.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Limit alcohol intake (includes wine, beer, and liquor) and cigarette smoking. Can worsen bone breakdown.
  • This medicine works best when used with calcium/vitamin D supplements (if dietary intake is poor), weight-bearing exercises like walking, or physical therapy. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Use caution if you have stomach, intestine, or esophageal disease. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Low calcium or phosphate levels in the blood.
  • Belly pain and cramps.
  • Nausea. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Constipation. More liquids, regular exercise, or a fiber-containing diet may help. Talk with healthcare provider about a stool softener or laxative.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Muscle or bone pain.


What should I monitor?

  • Test to look at the bones before and during treatment.
  • Follow diet plan and exercise program as recommended by healthcare provider.
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Heartburn, belly pain or burning, nausea.
  • Any rash.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight container at room temperature.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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