Fosamax slows bone loss while increasing bone mass, which helps maintain strong bones and may prevent bone fractures. This medicine is used in women to treat or prevent osteoporosis that is caused by menopause and in men and women to treat osteoporosis caused by taking steroids.
Alendronate is used to treat certain types of bone loss (osteoporosis) in adults. Osteoporosis causes bones to become thinner and break more easily. This medication works by slowing bone loss. This effect helps maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of broken bones (fractures). Alendronate belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking alendronate and each time you get a refill. Follow the instructions very closely to make sure your body absorbs as much drug as possible and to reduce the risk of injury to your esophagus. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. This medication is taken once per week. Choose the day of the week that best fits your schedule and take it on that day each week. Take this medication by mouth, after getting up for the day and before taking your first food, beverage, or other medication. Drink at least 2 ounces (60 milliliters) of plain water after taking liquid alendronate. Then stay fully upright (sitting, standing, or walking) for at least 30 minutes and do not lie down until after your first food of the day. Alendronate works only if taken on an empty stomach. Wait at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 to 2 hours) after taking the medication before you eat or drink anything other than plain water. Do not take this medication at bedtime or before rising for the day. It may not be absorbed and you may have side effects. Calcium or iron supplements, vitamins, antacids, coffee, tea, soda, mineral water, calcium-enriched juices, and food can decrease the absorption of alendronate. Do not take these for at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 to 2 hours) after taking alendronate. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it on the same day each week. It may help to mark your calendar with a reminder. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of long-term use of this medication.
Stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, or nausea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: jaw pain, swelling of joints/hands/ankles/feet, increased or severe bone/joint/muscle pain, new or unusual hip/thigh/groin pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds. This medication may rarely cause serious irritation and ulcers of the esophagus. If you notice any of the following unlikely but very serious side effects, stop taking alendronate and talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away: new or worsening heartburn, chest pain, pain or difficulty when swallowing. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.