Compare Fosamax vs. Actonel

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

Fosamax (alendronate)

Prescription only

Actonel (risedronate)

Prescription only
Prevents bone loss.

Fosamax (alendronate) is a first-choice treatment for osteoporosis, but taking it can be a hassle.

3.2/ 5 average rating with 169 reviewsforFosamax
Prevents bone loss and fracture.

Actonel (risedronate) is a first-choice treatment for osteoporosis, but taking it can be a hassle.

2.9/ 5 average rating with 83 reviewsforActonel
Upsides
  • First choice to treat osteoporosis
  • Lowers your risk of fractures due to osteoporosis.
  • Available generic.
  • Available as daily, weekly, or twice weekly dosing.
  • Comes as a regular tablet, an oral solution, or effervescent tablet.
  • Actonel (risedronate) is one of the first choice medicines used for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Available in a cheaper, generic form.
  • Can take tablet form once or twice a month, once a week, or once a day.
Downsides
  • Can harm your esophagus if you don't remain upright for 30 minutes after taking it.
  • Not recommended for people who can't sit or stand upright for at least 30 minutes.
  • Can increase the risk of atypical fractures.
  • Can cause bad heartburn or stomach problems.
  • Need to take Actonel (risedronate) on an empty stomach first thing in the morning with a full glass of water.
  • Requires the person taking this medicine to remain upright for at least 30 minutes after taking it, which can be a problem for those who have trouble sitting or standing.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Effervescent tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Delayed-release pill
Price
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
169 reviews so far
43%
saidit'sworth it
30%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Fosamax (alendronate)?

Leave a review
83 reviews so far
36%
saidit'sworth it
19%
saiditworked well
25%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Actonel (risedronate)?

Leave a review
Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Abdominal pain
    2%
See more detailed side effects
33possible side effects
  • Infection
    31%
  • Back pain
    28%
  • Joint pain
    24%
  • Accidental injury
    17%
  • Generalized pain
    14%
  • Constipation
    13%
  • Stomach pain
    12%
  • Traumatic bone fracture
    12%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    11%
  • High blood pressure
    11%
  • Diarrhea
    11%
  • Indigestion
    11%
  • Nausea
    11%
  • Headache
    10%
  • Bronchitis
    10%
  • Urinary tract infection
    10%
  • Sinus infection
    9%
  • Swelling in the arms or legs
    8%
  • Joint problems
    7%
  • Muscle pain
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Depression
    7%
  • Rash
    7%
  • Cataracts
    7%
  • Stuffy or runny nose
    6%
  • Sore throat
    6%
  • Increased cough
    6%
  • Weakness
    5%
  • Neck pain
    5%
  • Chest pain
    5%
  • Bone pain
    5%
  • Sleep difficulty
    5%
  • Allergic reaction
    4%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Irritation and ulcers to the stomach and esophagus
    • Taking anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen, and naproxen
    • History of ulcers or stomach or esophageal conditions
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Problems sitting or standing for at least 30 minutes
  • Pain in the bones and muscles
  • Problems in the jaw bone
    • Oral or dental surgery
    • Cancer
    • Poor oral hygiene
    • Prolonged use of Fosamax (alendronate)
  • Leg bone fractures
  • Low calcium in the blood
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Irritation and ulcers in the stomach and esophagus
    • 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
  • Pain in the bones and/or muscles
  • Problems in the jawbone
    • Oral or dental surgery
    • Cancer
    • Poor oral hygiene
  • Leg bone fractures
  • Low calcium in the blood
    • History of low calcium in the blood
See more detailed risks and warnings