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 how you have to take 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.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
3.78Actonel
Reviews for Actonel (Risedronate)
36%
of people (All ages) say Actonel (Risedronate) 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

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Have you used Prolia (Denosumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ActonelProlia

We haven’t found good data for Actonel side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Actonel »
  • 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, 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 only
Prescription only
Available as
ActonelProlia
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Injection
Used for
ActonelProlia
Risk factors for serious side effects
ActonelProlia
      • Oral or dental surgery
      • Cancer
      • Poor oral hygiene
          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)
            • Weak immune system
            • Taking medicines that block your immune system (such as transplant medications or steroids)
            • Oral or dental surgery
            • Cancer diagnosis
            • Taking steroids or chemotherapy
            • Poor oral hygiene
              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
              • People on Actonel (Risedronate) have reported breakdown of the jaw bone. This is rare. This can happen if you have oral or dental surgery, or if you have poor oral hygiene. If you notice pain, swelling or an infection in your jaw, talk to your doctor right away. Also, tell your surgeon that you are taking Actonel (Risedronate).
              No food related info.
              Pain
              ActonelProlia
              • If you have pain with swallowing, around your chest or stomach, or new or worsening heartburn, talk to your doctor.
              • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
              Weight
              ActonelProlia
              • Consider adding weight-bearing exercises as part of your exercise routine.
              No weight related info.
              Upsides and benefits
              ActonelProlia
              • Available in generic.
              • Available in oral tablets that can be taken 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 it first thing in the morning with a full glass of water.
              • You have to remain upright for at least 30 minutes after you take the medication, which can be a problem if you have mobility issues.
              • 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 fast release medication, take it first thing when you wake up by swallowing the whole pill with a full glass of water.
              • Don't eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after you've taken the fast release medication.
              • If you're taking the extended release medication, take it after your first meal of the day with at least a half cup of water.
              • Stay sitting or standing and Don't take any other medications, vitamins or supplements for at least 30 minutes after you take the medication.
              • If you have pain with swallowing, around your chest or stomach, or new or worsening heartburn, talk to your doctor.
              • Call your doctor if you develop pain in your jaw, hips or thighs.
              • Keep taking your calcium and vitamin D.
              • If you forget to take your dose, skip it and take it the following morning.
              • Some of these medications are only taken once or twice a month, others are taken once a week and others once a day. Talk to your pharmacist if you're not sure.
              • Consider adding weight-bearing exercises as part of your exercise routine.
              • 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