Generic Name: Risedronate

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Actonel is a medicine used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in women after menopause and to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis. Actonel is also used to treat men or women with osteoporosis that is caused by the use of corticosteroid medicines (such as prednisone), and to treat Paget's disease of the bone.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Actonel works by stopping a type of bone cell from breaking down bones.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Actonel has been shown to reduce the occurrence of bone fractures and increase bone thickness.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Actonel exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly and ask you questions from time to time to check how well this medication is working.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: back pain, joint pain, abdominal (stomach area) pain, heartburn.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach) problems (such as irritation, swelling, or ulcers), with symptoms such as chest pain, new or worsening heartburn, or trouble or pain when you swallow.

    Low blood calcium levels, with symptoms such as spasms, twitches, or cramps in your muscles, or numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, or around your mouth.

    Unusual fractures in the thigh bone, with symptoms such as new or unusual pain in your hip, groin, or thigh.

    Actonel may also cause severe jaw bone problems or bone or muscle pain.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Actonel if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Actonel if you have certain problems with your esophagus.

    Do not take Actonel if you have low blood calcium levels.

    Do not take Actonel if you cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Actonel. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have problems swallowing; kidney, stomach, or digestive problems; low blood calcium levels; if you plan to have dental surgery or your teeth removed; or if you have been told you have trouble absorbing minerals in your stomach or intestines.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis

    Adults: The recommended dose is 35 milligrams (mg) once a week, 5 mg once a day, 75 mg on 2 consecutive days for a total of two tablets each month, or 150 mg once a month.

    Bone Mass Increase in Men with Osteoporosis

    Adults: The recommended dose is 35 mg once a week.

    Prevention and Treatment of Corticosteroid-Induced Osteoporosis

    Adults: The recommended dose is 5 mg once a day.

    Paget's Disease

    Adults: The recommended dose is 30 mg once a day for 2 months.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Actonel exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Actonel without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Actonel only works if you take it on an empty stomach. Take Actonel after you get up for the day and before taking your first food, drink, or other medicine. Take it while you are sitting or standing.

    Swallow Actonel tablets whole with a full glass of plain water only. Do not chew or suck on the tablets or take it with any other liquids.

    After you take Actonel, wait at least 30 minutes before you lie down, have your first meal or drink of the day (except for plain water), or take any other medicines (including antacids, calcium, or other supplements and vitamins).

    Your healthcare provider may prescribe calcium and vitamin D to help prevent low blood calcium levels while you are taking Actonel. Take these as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after you take Actonel.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Actonel is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Actonel with the following: antacids or other medicines that contain aluminum, calcium, iron, or magnesium; aspirin; estrogen; medicines that reduce acid in your stomach (such as omeprazole or famotidine); or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen).

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Actonel during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not take Actonel while you are breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss your scheduled dose of Actonel, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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