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Prevents bone loss.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Fosamax (Alendronate) is a first-choice treatment for osteoporosis and is available as a generic, but taking it can be a hassle.

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  • 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.
  • 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.

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Side effects for Fosamax (Alendronate)

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These are side effects of Fosamax (Alendronate) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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What to expect when you take Fosamax (Alendronate) for Osteoporosis

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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).

Risks and Warnings for Fosamax (Alendronate)

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  • People on Fosamax (Alendronate) have reported irritation to the stomach and esophagus to the point of ulcers. It is very important to remain standing or sitting upright for at least 30 minutes after you take the medication to help stop this from happening, and to take this first thing in the morning when you wake up with a full glass of plain water. Talk to your doctor if this will be a problem for you. Also, talk to your doctor if you notice new pain while swallowing, or pain around the middle of your chest or abdomen while taking this medication.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Fosamax (Alendronate)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits