Alendronate (Fosamax®)

What is Alendronate (Fosamax®)?

Alendronate is commonly known by the brand name Fosamax®. Fosamax® is a bisphosphonate and is used in the treatment of osteoporosis. Fosamax® decreases the rate bone cells are absorbed. This reduced absorption allows the body to increase bone density, which in turn reduces the risk of fracture.

How do I take it?

Fosamax® is taken once weekly or once daily. The pills are available in 5 mg, 10mg, 35 mg, 40 mg, and 70 mg strength. The usual dosage for osteoporosis prevention is 35 mg once weekly, or 5 mg once daily. The usual dosage for osteoporosis treatment is 70 mg once weekly, or 10 mg once daily. You doctor will tell you how many pills to take and how often. Follow your doctor’s directions. For the best results, take these pills at the same time every day. Take it on an empty stomach with a full glass of water, at least two hours after, or a full half hour before eating. Do not take it in combination with other medications or any vitamin or food supplements. DO NOT LIE DOWN FOR A FULL HALF HOUR TO REDUCE THE RISK OF UNWANTED SIDE EFFECTS.

What else should I know?

Fosamax® may cause irritation or ulceration of the esophagus, however, this is very unlikely if you are able to stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication. Individuals with untreated calcium deficiency or esophageal disease should not use this treatmentDo not use Fosamax® if you are pregnant or nursing.

What about other medications?

When you are taking Fosamax®, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as vitamins and herbal supplements.

Fosamax® treatment should be taken on its own without any other medications, and you must wait at least 30 minutes before taking other drugs. It is best to have your doctor’s advice before adding another medication to your daily routine.

Updated: April 25, 2012

Victoria Ruffing, RN

About Victoria Ruffing, RN

Ms. Ruffing has been a member of the Arthritis Center since 2000, currently serving as the Nurse Manager. She is a critical member of our patient care team.