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Alendronate: Side Effects, Uses, Interactions and Precautions

Alendronate Medication

Brand Name(s)— Fosamax, Binosto, Fosamax Plus D

Generic Name— Alendronate

Drug Class— Calcium Metabolism Modifiers; Bisphosphonate Derivatives

What Is Alendronate?

Alendronate medication is used to treat and prevent certain types of bone loss or osteoporosis in adults. Osteoporosis causes human bones to become weak, thinner and break more easily. The possibility of developing osteoporosis increases after menopause, with increasing age, or if you are using corticosteroid medications such as prednisone for a long period of time. It belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates.

The medication slows down the process of  bone loss, helps to maintain strong bones and decreases the risk of fractures or broken bones.

Alendronate is also used to treat Paget’s disease of bone. [Trusted Source 1]

Important Information:

It is not recommended to take this medicine if you have problems with your esophagus, or low levels of calcium in your blood.

It is also not advisable to use alendronate if you can’t sit upright or stand for at least thirty minutes after taking the medicine.

The medication can cause serious problems in the stomach or esophagus. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor or health care provider at once if you have chest pain, new or worsening heartburn, or pain when swallowing.


Tell your doctor or health care provider about all your current medications, especially [Trusted Source 1]

  • Aspirin
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)—Naproxen (Aleve), Celecoxib, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Diclofenac, Indomethacin, Meloxicam, and others

Calcium supplements and antacids may reduce the absorption of alendronate. Therefore, alendronate medication should be taken at least 30 minutes before calcium and antacids. [Trusted Source 2] [Trusted Source 3]

Intravenous ranitidine (Zantac) also may increases the blood levels of alendronate. [Trusted Source 2]

Side Effects of Alendronate:

Stop using the medication and call your doctor at once if you have [Trusted Source 1] [Trusted Source 2] [Trusted Source 3]

  • Chest pain, new or worsening heartburn
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • New or unusual pain in your thigh or hip
  • Jaw pain, numbness, or swelling
  • Severe joint, bone, or muscle pain
  • Pain or burning under the ribs or in the back
  • Low calcium levels—muscle spasms or contractions, numbness or tingly feeling
  • Severe heartburn, burning pain in your upper stomach, or coughing up blood

Common side effects may include [Trusted Source 1]

  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bone, muscle or joint pain

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. What Happens If I Overdose?

A. Consume a full glass of milk and seek emergency medical help or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Do not make yourself vomit and do not lie down.

Q. Is Alendronate Safe To Take If I’m Pregnant Or Breastfeeding?

A. Alendronate has not been studied in pregnant women. It is also not clear whether alendronate is secreted in human milk.

Q. What Brand Names Are Available For Alendronate?

A. Fosamax and Binosto.

Q. Is Alendronate Available As A Generic Drug?

A. Yes.

Q. Do I Need A Prescription For Alendronate?

A. Yes.

Q. What Preparations Of Alendronate Are Available?

A. Tablets: 5, 10, 35, 40, 70 mg. Solution: 70 mg

Q. How Should I Keep Alendronate Stored?

A. Tablets and solution should be stored at room temperature, 15 C – 30 C (59 F – 86 F) and not frozen.

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