Compare Fosamax vs. calcitonin

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



Prevents bone loss. Fosamax (alendronate) is a first-choice treatment for osteoporosis, but taking it can be a hassle.Treats high calcium levels and prevents bone loss. Miacalcin (calcitonin) can be used for osteoporosis, but it is not a first choice because there are more effective medications available.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
Reviews for Fosamax
of people (All ages) say Fosamax is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
169 reviews
Have you used Fosamax (alendronate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Miacalcin (calcitonin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
  • Abdominal pain 2%
  • Bone, muscle or joint pain 1%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Gas 2%
  • Headache 1%
  • Constipation 1%
  • Ulcer in esophagus 2%
More Fosamax side effects »
  • Stuffy nose 5%
  • Back pain 3%
More calcitonin side effects »
How it works
Fosamax (alendronate) is a bisphosphonate, which inhibits bone breakdown.Miacalcin (calcitonin) blocks the cells that break down bone. This makes stronger bones and lowers calcium levels in the blood.
Type of medication
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Effervescent tablet
  • Liquid
  • Nasal spray
  • Injection
Used for
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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
  • Oral or dental surgery
Detailed Fosamax (alendronate) risks & warnings »
  • Allergy to fish
  • Seizure history
  • Low calcium in blood
  • Age 65 and above
  • History of cancer
Detailed Miacalcin (calcitonin) risks & warnings »

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.

  • Fosamax (alendronate) can cause bone and muscle pain. However, this is very rare. Stop taking the medication and talk to your doctor if this happens to you.
  • Fosamax (alendronate) can cause fractures in the legs as a result of little or no force. This is rare. If you notice a new dull or aching pain in your hips or thighs, talk to your doctor right away.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
  • 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.
  • Using the nasal spray causes fewer side effects than the injectable version.
  • Can help with bone pain if you've had a recent fracture.
  • Available in generic.
Downsides and risks
  • 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.
  • Miacalcin (calcitonin) is not as effective as other medications used to stop bone loss or lower calcium levels.
  • You're at a higher risk for certain cancers while taking Miacalcin (calcitonin).
  • If you're allergic to fish, you might also be allergic to Miacalcin (calcitonin).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • Take first thing in the morning with a full glass of water.
  • Avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after taking Fosamax (alendronate).
  • Remain upright for 30 minutes after taking Fosamax (alendronate).
  • Talk to your doctor if you develop pain around jaw, throat, chest, abdomen, hips or thighs.
  • Let your doctor know if you have any major dental procedures coming up. You may need to temporarily stop taking Fosamax (alendronate).
  • Dissolve the effervescent tablet in 4 ounces of plain water. When solution stops fizzing, wait 5 minutes before stirring for 10 seconds and drinking.
  • New, unopened nasal spray bottles should be stored in the refrigerator until you use them. Once they are opened, they should be stored at room temperature for up to 35 days.
  • Allow nasal spray bottle to reach room temperature before use. Prime before first use by spraying in the air 5 times until full spray is produced.
  • Toss spray bottle after 30 doses. It may not feel empty yet, but it won't deliver the correct dose anymore.
  • Follow the directions your doctor or pharmacist tells you so you get the full dose every time.
  • Continue to take your calcium or vitamin D.
  • The nasal spray is only used for weak bones. Forms of the drug that are injected in the skin or muscles are used for other conditions such as high calcium in the blood, Paget's disease, and weak bones.
Learn more
More about FosamaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Fosamax (alendronate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about calcitoninSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Miacalcin (calcitonin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it