What is alendronate?
Alendronate is in the group of medicines called bisphosphonates (bis FOS fo nayts). It alters the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in the body. Alendronate slows bone loss while increasing bone mass, which may prevent bone fractures.
Alendronate is used to treat or prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis and steroid-induced osteoporosis. Alendronate is also used to treat Paget’s disease of bone.
Alendronate may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Do not take an alendronate tablet if you cannot sit upright or stand for at least 30 minutes. Alendronate can cause serious problems in the stomach or esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach). You will need to stay upright for at least 30 minutes after taking this medication.
Before using alendronate, tell your doctor if you have:
- low blood calcium (hypocalcemia);
- a vitamin D deficiency;
- kidney disease; or
- an ulcer in your stomach or esophagus.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take alendronate.
Some people using medicines similar to alendronate have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms of this condition may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums.
You may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and dental surgery or pre-existing dental problems.
FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether alendronate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not take any other medicines including vitamins, calcium, or antacids for at least 30 minutes after taking an alendronate tablet.
Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after you take an alendronate tablet.
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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Drink a full glass of milk and call your local poison control center or emergency room right away. Do not make yourself vomit and do not lie down.
Overdose symptoms may include nausea, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle cramps, numbness or tingling, tight muscles in your face, seizure (convulsions), irritability, and unusual thoughts or behavior.
If you take alendronate tablets once daily: If you forget to take this medicine first thing in the morning, do not take it later in the day. Wait until the following morning to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take two (2) tablets in one day.
If you take alendronate tablets once a week: If you forget to take alendronate on your scheduled day, take it first thing in the morning on the day after you remember the missed dose. Then return to your regular weekly schedule on your chosen dose day. Do not take take two (2) tablets in one day.
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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using alendronate and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- chest pain;
- difficulty or pain when swallowing;
- pain or burning under the ribs or in the back;
- new or worsening heartburn;
- severe joint, bone, or muscle pain; or
- jaw pain, numbness, or swelling.
Less serious side effects may include:
- mild heartburn or stomach upset;
- diarrhea, gas, or constipation;
- joint pain or swelling;
- swelling in your hands or feet;
- back pain; or
- dizziness, weakness, or headache.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Antacids, supplements, or medicines that contain aluminum, calcium, magnesium, or other minerals can interfere with how your body absorbs alendronate. If you use these other medicines, do not that take them for at least 30 minutes after taking an alendronate tablet.
Before using alendronate, tell your doctor if you also use aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), diflunisal (Dolobid), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), indomethacin, ketoprofen (Orudis), ketorolac (Toradol), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), and others.
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with alendronate. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Fosamax and alendronate
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