Fosamax

Generic Name: Alendronate

  • What is Fosamax?

    Fosamax is used to treat or prevent osteoporosis (thin, weak bones) in women after menopause. It lowers the risk of having a hip or spinal fracture. In men with osteoporosis, it is used to increase bone mass. Fosamax is also used to treat osteoporosis in men or women who are taking corticosteroids, such as prednisone. This drug is also used to treat Paget's disease, a painful condition that weakens and deforms the bones, in men and women. Fosamax tablets are used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, whereas Fosamax oral solution is only used for the treatment of osteoporosis.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Fosamax?

    Side effects affecting the esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach) or throat, such as inflammation, ulcers and erosions (occasionally with bleeding), have been reported in patients receiving treatment with Fosamax. The risk of these side effects appears to be greater in patients who lie down after taking this medication, those who fail to swallow this medication with the recommended full glass (6-8 oz) of water, or those who continue this medication even after developing symptoms of throat irritation. If you have chest pain, new or worsening heartburn, or have trouble or pain when swallowing, stop taking Fosamax and call your doctor.

    Tell your dentist that you are taking Fosamax before any kind of dental procedures.

    Improvements in bone density may be seen as early as 3 months after you start therapy with Fosamax, even though you may not be able to see or feel any differences. You must take Fosamax exactly as directed to help make sure it works and to help lower the chance of problems in your esophagus.

    Speak to your doctor about taking supplemental calcium and vitamin D if you are not getting enough from your daily diet.

  • Who should not take Fosamax?

    Do not take Fosamax if you have certain problems with your esophagus, cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes, have low levels of calcium in your blood, or are allergic to Fosamax or any of its ingredients. You should not take Fosamax oral solution if you have trouble swallowing liquids.

    Fosamax is not recommended for patients with severe kidney problems.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Fosamax?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Fosamax. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have problems with swallowing, are on hormone replacement therapy, have stomach or digestive problems, kidney problems, are unable to stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes, are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

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

    Paget's Disease

    Adults: The usual dose is 40 milligrams (mg) taken once daily for 6 months.

    Prevention of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

    Adults: The usual dose is one 35-mg tablet taken once weekly or one 5-mg tablet taken once daily.

    Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

    Adults: The usual dose is one 5-mg tablet taken once daily. In postmenopausal women not receiving estrogen, the usual dose is one 10-mg tablet taken once daily.

    Treatment of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis and Osteoporosis in Men

    Adults: The usual dose is one 70-mg tablet taken once weekly, or one bottle of 70-mg oral solution taken once weekly, or one 10-mg tablet taken once daily.

  • How should I take Fosamax?

    Take Fosamax exactly as prescribed. Fosamax works only if it is taken on an empty stomach. Take Fosamax after you get up for the day and before your first meal, drink, medicine, or supplement. Take it while you are sitting or standing. Swallow the Fosamax tablet with a full glass (6-8 oz) of plain water only. Do not take Fosamax with mineral water, coffee, tea, or juice.

    Some forms of Fosamax are taken once daily. Others are taken only once a week. If you take Fosamax once a week, take it on the same day each week.

    To ensure that you get a correct dose, measure the Fosamax oral solution with a dose-measuring spoon, dropper, or cup and not a regular tablespoon. Drink an additional 2 oz of water after you take your dose.

    Do not chew or suck on the tablet. After you swallow your Fosamax dose, wait at least 30 minutes before you lie down, before you eat or drink (except for plain water), and before you take other medicines, including antacids, calcium, and other supplements and vitamins.

  • What should I avoid while taking Fosamax?

    Do not eat, drink, or take other medicines or supplements before taking Fosamax and for at least 30 minutes after taking Fosamax.

    Do not take Fosamax at bedtime or before getting up for the day.

    Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking Fosamax, and do not lie down until after your first meal of the day.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Fosamax?

    If Fosamax is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Fosamax with the following: antacids, aspirin, calcium supplements, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

  • What are the possible side effects of Fosamax?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: abdominal pain, acid regurgitation (acid reflux), bone and joint pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, indigestion, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting

    Stop taking Fosamax and call your doctor right away if you experience chest pain, new or worsening heartburn, or trouble or pain when swallowing. Tell your doctor if you develop severe bone, muscle, or joint pain.

  • Can I receive Fosamax if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Fosamax during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Use caution if you breastfeed while taking Fosamax. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Fosamax?

    If you are taking Fosamax on a daily basis, do not take a missed dose later in the day. Instead, skip it and go back to your regular schedule the next morning.

    If you miss a dose of once weekly Fosamax, take the missed dose the morning after you remember. Then return to taking one dose once a week as originally scheduled on your chosen day.

    Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Fosamax?

    Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container. Do not freeze the oral solution.

Meet the Pharmacists

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

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