Compare Fosamax vs. Forteo

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

Fosamax
(Alendronate)

Forteo
(Teriparatide)

Prevents bone loss. Fosamax (Alendronate) is a first-choice treatment for osteoporosis and is available as a generic, but taking it can be a hassle.Prevents bone loss. Forteo (Teriparatide) is a good second-choice medication to treat bone loss, but it's only available as an injectable.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.291666666666667Fosamax
Reviews for Fosamax (Alendronate)
43%
of people say Fosamax (Alendronate) is worth it
30%
say it works well
18%
say it's a big hassle

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

Side effects
FosamaxForteo

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

FDA side effect reports for Fosamax »
  • Dizziness 3%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Fainting 2%
  • Leg cramps 2%
  • Muscle weakness 2%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 1%
  • Indigestion 1%
  • Vertigo 1%
  • Low mood disorder 1%
  • Tooth disorder 1%
More Forteo side effects »
How it works
FosamaxForteo
Fosamax (Alendronate) 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.Forteo (Teriparatide) works by stimulating cells that build up and strengthen your bones.
Type of medication
FosamaxForteo
BisphosphonatePrescription only
Osteoporosis
Parathyroid hormone
Prescription only
Available as
FosamaxForteo
  • Pill
  • Effervescent tablet
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
FosamaxForteo
Risk factors for serious side effects
FosamaxForteo
      • Oral or dental surgery
      • Cancer
      • Poor oral hygiene
          Detailed Fosamax (Alendronate) risks & warnings »
          • Paget's bone disease
          • Young people with open epiphyses
          • Hypercalcemia
          • Hyperparathyroidism
          • History of kidney stones
            • Digoxin use
            Detailed Forteo (Teriparatide) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            FosamaxForteo
            CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            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.

            See the FDA package insert
            CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            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.

            See the FDA package insert
            Alcohol
            No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
            Food
            No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
            Kidneys and liver
            No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            • Forteo (Teriparatide) can cause kidney stones, especially if you have high calcium levels in your urine. If kidney stones are suspected, your doctor can measure the amount of calcium in your urine to see if you are at risk. Be careful using this medication if you have a history of kidney stones.
            Sex
            No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
            Sleep
            No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
            Weight
            No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
            Upsides and benefits
            FosamaxForteo
            • Lowers your risk of bone fractures.
            • Available as a generic medication.
            • Available in two forms: one that can be taken once a day or another that's taken once a week.
            • Comes as a regular tablet, an oral solution, or effervescent tablets meant to be dissolved in water.
            • If you're unable to use bisphosphonates or are still having fractures despite being on other medications, Forteo (Teriparatide) can be a good alternative.
            • You can start using Forteo (Teriparatide) as soon as you stop using bisphosphonates.
            Downsides and risks
            FosamaxForteo
            • You need to take it the first thing in the morning with a full glass of water.
            • Not good for people who can't sit or stand upright for at least 30 minutes in the morning.
            • The use of bisphosphonates increases your risk of other types of fractures not related to osteoporosis (called atypical fractures).
            • Can cause bad heartburn or stomach problems.
            • Only available as a brand medication, so it can be expensive.
            • You have to inject this every day, so it may not be a good option if you don't like needles.
            • Shouldn't take this longer than 18 to 24 months since it can increase the risk of bone cancers.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            FosamaxForteo
            • Take Fosamax (Alendronate) first thing in the morning with a full glass of water before eating or drinking anything else, including other medicines.
            • The pill must be swallowed whole.
            • Stay upright for at least 30 minutes after taking the medicine, and don't eat or drink anything except plain water during that time.
            • Make sure you take enough calcium and vitamin D to allow this medicine to work.
            • Can cause an upset stomach, joint pain, back pain, or heartburn.
            • Stop taking the medicine and let your doctor know if swallowing becomes painful, if you have chest pain, or if any of the side effects worsen.
            • If you have dental work coming up, get it done before starting this medicine since some people have experienced serious jaw problems while on Fosamax (Alendronate).
            • You should be sitting or lying down when you inject Forteo (Teriparatide) since it can make you dizzy.
            • You should inject Forteo (Teriparatide) under the skin in either your thigh or stomach.
            • Make sure the liquid in the vial of Forteo (Teriparatide) is clear and colorless before you inject it. Don't use it if it looks cloudy, colored, or if you see particles inside.
            Learn more
            More about FosamaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about ForteoSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert