Compare Actonel vs. Prolia

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Actonel
(risedronate)

Prolia
(denosumab)

Prevents bone loss. Actonel (risedronate) is a first-choice treatment for osteoporosis and is available as a generic, but taking it can be a hassle.Prevents bone loss. Prolia (Denosumab) is an effective and convenient treatment for osteoporosis if other options haven’t worked or aren’t appropriate for you. There’re risks of some rare side effects, so make sure you're following up with your doctor regularly.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
3.78Actonel
Reviews for Actonel
36%
of people (All ages) say Actonel is worth it
19%
say it works well
25%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Actonel (risedronate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Prolia
33%
+3% better vs. Actonel
40%
-21% worse vs. Actonel
27%
+2% better vs. Actonel
Have you used Prolia (denosumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ActonelProlia
  • Infection 1%
  • Back pain 2%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Stomach pain 2%
  • Traumatic bone fracture 3%
  • High blood pressure 1%
More Actonel side effects »
  • Pain in extremity 1%
  • Hypercholesterolemia 1%
  • Ankle and leg swelling 1%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 1%
  • Sciatica 1%
More Prolia side effects »
How it works
ActonelProlia
Actonel (risedronate) is a bisphosphonate. It slows down osteoclasts, which are the cells that break down bone. This results in greater bone mass, and lowers the possibility of fractures.Prolia (Denosumab) is a monoclonal antibody. It blocks a protein that sends signals to break down your bones, and therefore prevents bone loss.
Type of medication
ActonelProlia
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ActonelProlia
  • Pill
  • Injection
Used for
ActonelProlia
Risk factors for serious side effects
ActonelProlia
  • History of ulcers, or other stomach or esophageal problems
  • History of difficulty swallowing
  • Unable to sit upright or stand for 30 minutes after taking the medicine
  • Oral or dental surgery
  • Cancer
Detailed Actonel (risedronate) risks & warnings »
  • Taking steroids
  • Kidney problems
  • Not taking calcium supplements
  • Taking other medicines that can lower calcium blood levels
  • History of hypoparathyroidism (low levels of parathyroid hormone)
Detailed Prolia (denosumab) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

Food
ActonelProlia
  • Although rare, breakdown of the jawbone has happened in people taking Actonel (risedronate). This is more likely to happen if you have oral or dental surgery, or if you have poor oral hygiene. If you notice pain or swelling in your jaw, talk to your doctor right away. Also, tell your surgeon that you are taking Actonel (risedronate) prior to any oral/dental procedures.
No food related info.
Pain
ActonelProlia
  • Talk to your doctor if you have pain with swallowing, pain in your chest or stomach, or new or worsening heartburn.
  • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
Upsides and benefits
ActonelProlia
  • Actonel (risedronate) is one of the first choice medicines to treat osteoporosis.
  • It is available in generic.
  • It is available in tablets that can be taken by mouth once or twice a month, once a week, or once a day.
  • Prolia (Denosumab) is effective at preventing bone loss, making your bones stronger and lowering your chance of getting a fracture.
  • Only need to get an injection every 6 months, so you don’t have to remember to take something every day.
Downsides and risks
ActonelProlia
  • You have to take Actonel (risedronate) first thing in the morning with a full glass of water.
  • You have to remain upright for at least 30 minutes after you take it, which can be a problem if you have trouble moving.
  • Approved for women only after they’ve reached menopause. Don’t use this if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Can lower blood calcium levels. You might need to take calcium supplements to prevent this.
  • Not available as a generic.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ActonelProlia
  • If you're taking the immediate release medicine, take it first thing when you wake up by swallowing the whole pill with a full glass of water.
  • Remain sitting or standing, and don't take any other medications, vitamins, or supplements for at least 30 minutes after you take Actonel (risedronate).
  • If you forget to take your dose, skip it and take it the following morning.
  • Keep taking your calcium and vitamin D.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have pain with swallowing, pain in your chest or stomach, or new or worsening heartburn.
  • If you develop pain in your jaw, hips, or thighs, call your doctor.
  • Remember to get your shot every 6 months. Write it down on your calendar.
  • If your doctor also told you to take calcium and vitamin D, remember to take them as well. They'll work with Prolia (Denosumab) to help protect your bones.
  • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
  • Let your doctor know if you start getting more infections.
  • Let your dentist know that you’re taking Prolia (Denosumab) since it can cause problems in the jaw bone after dental procedures.
Learn more
More about ActonelSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Actonel (risedronate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ProliaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Prolia (denosumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it