Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Musculoskeletal



Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Musculoskeletal
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Prevents bone loss.

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Our 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.
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  • 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.
How it works

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.

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

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Side effect rates 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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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.

Common concerns from people taking Fosamax (Alendronate)

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  • People on Fosamax (Alendronate) 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 Fosamax (Alendronate).
  • I have had 3 breaks since taking this medicine. My orthopedic is very concerned. I had to switch from Actonel ldue to my insurance coverage, but I think it worked better than the Fosamax.