Prevents or treats osteoporosis (thinning of the bone) in women after menopause and treats osteoporosis in men. This medicine is also used to treat Paget's disease of bone and osteoporosis caused by glucocorticoid treatment.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to alendronate, or if you have esophagus (the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach) problems, trouble swallowing, low calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia), or if you cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- If any of this medicine stays in your esophagus, it may cause serious damage. To lower the risk of this problem, use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor.
- Take this medicine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, before you eat or have anything to drink. Do not take the medicine while you are still in bed, and do not take it at bedtime.
- Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of plain water only (not mineral water, coffee, juice, or any other liquid). Do not chew or suck on the tablet. If you use the oral liquid, drink at least 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of only plain water after you take the medicine.
- Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after you take the medicine before you eat or drink anything or take any other medicines. This will help your body absorb the medicine.
- Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking alendronate, and do not lie down until after you have eaten some food.
- Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about diet and exercise. It is especially important that you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your doctor may also recommend weight-bearing exercises or diet changes to further decrease your risk of osteoporosis.
If a dose is missed:
- This medicine is usually taken one time per week. If you miss your regularly scheduled dose or you forget to take your medicine, wait until the next morning to take it. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. You should never take two tablets in one day.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using aspirin or products that contain aspirin, or any type of pain or arthritis medicine (such as Advil®, Aleve®, Dolobid®, Feldene®, Indocin®, Motrin®, Orudis®, Relafen®, Voltaren®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking chemotherapy, radiation, or corticosteroids (such as prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, Decadron®, or Medrol®).
- Wait at least 30 minutes after you take alendronate before taking any calcium supplements and antacids.
- Do not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. Both alcohol and smoking can make your bone problems worse.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have chronic heartburn, ulcers, other stomach or intestine problems, or any other kind of digestive problems.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine, especially if you are having dental surgery. Also tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, anemia, blood clotting problems, cancer, infection of any kind, any type of vitamin or mineral deficiency or imbalance, poor oral hygiene, dental problems, or if you have recently had tooth extraction or dental surgery.
- This medicine can irritate your esophagus. If you think this medicine has started to damage your esophagus, stop taking the medicine and call your doctor. Symptoms to watch for include heartburn (either new or worse than usual), pain when swallowing, pain in the center of your chest, trouble swallowing, or feeling that food gets stuck on the way to your stomach.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools.
- Chest pain, discomfort, or burning.
- Heavy jaw feeling.
- Loosening of a tooth.
- Pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth or jaw.
- Severe bone, joint, or muscle pain.
- Severe stomach pain or enlarged abdomen (stomach).
- Trouble swallowing or pain when swallowing.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Mild bone, muscle, or joint pain.
- Mild stomach pain, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, or gas.