What is Alendronate?

Treating and preventing osteoporosis in certain patients. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Alendronate is a bisphosphonate. It works by slowing bone loss.

Do Not use alendronate if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in alendronate
  • you have certain esophagus problems (eg, narrowing, blockage)
  • you are unable to stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes
  • you have low blood calcium levels or severe kidney problems
  • Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using alendronate:

Some medical conditions may interact with alendronate. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of stomach or bowel problems (eg, inflammation, ulcer), esophagus problems (eg, heartburn, reflux disease, severe irritation), or kidney problems, or if you have difficult or painful swallowing
  • if you have low blood vitamin D levels, cancer, anemia, asthma, blood clotting problems, an infection, calcium metabolism problems, or nutrient absorption problems (eg, malabsorption syndrome), or you are unable to take calcium or vitamin D supplements
  • if you have poor dental hygiene or other dental problems, or you will be having a dental procedure (eg, tooth extraction)
  • if you smoke or drink alcohol
  • if you have had or will be having chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • if you have a mental disorder or other condition that may decrease your ability to follow the dosing instructions for alendronate
  • if you are taking any medicines that can cause jaw bone problems. There are many medicines that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

How to use alendronate:

Use alendronate as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

Alendronate comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get alendronate refilled.

Swallow alendronate whole. Do not break, crush, chew, or suck on the tablet before swallowing.

Take alendronate by mouth on an empty stomach in the morning at least 30 minutes before your first food, drink, or other medicine of the day. Do NOT take alendronate at bedtime or before you get out of bed in the morning.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use alendronate.

Important safety information:

Tell your doctor or dentist that you take alendronate before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.

Alendronate may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use alendronate with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.

Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol, smoke, or use other tobacco products while taking alendronate.

Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a calcium and vitamin D supplement while you use alendronate.

Talk to your doctor about the use of weight-bearing exercises to help prevent weak bones.

Proper dental care is important while you are taking alendronate. Brush and floss your teeth and visit the dentist regularly.

Alendronate may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to alendronate. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.

Certain dental procedures should be avoided if possible while you are using alendronate. Tell your doctor or dentist that you take alendronate before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.

Worsening of asthma has been reported in patients taking medicines like this one. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.

Lab tests, including bone density and blood calcium levels, may be performed while you use alendronate. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Your doctor may also want to evaluate you periodically while you take alendronate to assess the need to continue treatment. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.

Alendronate should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.

Possible side effects of alendronate:

  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • heartburn
  • irritation or pain of the esophagus
  • muscle pain
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • bone, joint, or muscle pain, severe and occasionally incapacitating
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with breathing
  • difficulty with moving

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