alendronate (generic name)

Fosamax (brand name)

It helps to make normal healthy bone and to slow bone loss in people with Paget's disease and osteoporosis
(a LEN droe nate)
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What is this medicine?

ALENDRONATE (a LEN droe nate) slows calcium loss from bones. It helps to make normal healthy bone and to slow bone loss in people with Paget's disease and osteoporosis. It may be used in others at risk for bone loss.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • dental disease
  • esophagus, stomach, or intestine problems, like acid reflux or GERD
  • kidney disease
  • low blood calcium
  • low vitamin D
  • problems sitting or standing 30 minutes
  • trouble swallowing
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to alendronate, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

You must take this medicine exactly as directed or you will lower the amount of the medicine you absorb into your body or you may cause yourself harm. Take this medicine by mouth first thing in the morning, after you are up for the day. Do not eat or drink anything before you take your medicine. Swallow the tablet with a full glass (6 to 8 fluid ounces) of plain water. Do not take this medicine with any other drink. Do not chew or crush the tablet. After taking this medicine, do not eat breakfast, drink, or take any medicines or vitamins for at least 30 minutes. Sit or stand up for at least 30 minutes after you take this medicine; do not lie down. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, do not take it later in the day. Continue your normal schedule starting the next morning. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • aluminum hydroxide
  • antacids
  • aspirin
  • calcium supplements
  • drugs for inflammation like ibuprofen, naproxen, and others
  • iron supplements
  • magnesium supplements
  • vitamins with minerals

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks ups. It may be some time before you see benefit from this medicine. Do not stop taking your medicine except on your doctor's advice. Your doctor or health care professional may order blood tests and other tests to see how you are doing.

You should make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D while you are taking this medicine, unless your doctor tells you not to. Discuss the foods you eat and the vitamins you take with your health care professional.

Some people who take this medicine have severe bone, joint, and/or muscle pain. This medicine may also increase your risk for a broken thigh bone. Tell your doctor right away if you have pain in your upper leg or groin. Tell your doctor if you have any pain that does not go away or that gets worse.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. If you get a rash while taking this medicine, sunlight may cause the rash to get worse. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

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Last Updated: June 15, 2012
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