By Warner Chilcott

What is this medication for?

Risedronate belongs to a family of medications known as bisphosphonates. It is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis for women who are past menopause. It is also used to treat osteoporosis in men, to prevent and treat osteoporosis in men and women taking high doses of corticosteroids, and to treat men and women with a condition called Paget's disease.

Risedronate increases the thickness of bone (bone mineral density) by slowing down the cells that usually break down bone (osteoclasts). This allows the cells that build bone (osteoblasts) to work more efficiently. By making bones stronger, risedronate can help to reduce the risk of broken bones.

To further help reduce the risk of broken bones, weight-bearing exercise should be considered along with stopping or decreasing cigarette smoking and/or drinking alcoholic beverages.

The optimal length of treatment using risedronate has not been determined, talk to your doctor about how long you should be taking risedronate.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Actonel® is available as:

  • tablets
    • 5 mg
    • 30 mg
    • 35 mg
    • 150 mg
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose for treating osteoporosis in women who are past menopause is 5 mg once daily, 35 mg once weekly, 75 mg once daily for 2 consecutive days per month, or 150 mg once a month.

The recommended dose for preventing osteoporosis in women who are past menopause is 5 mg once daily or 35 mg once weekly.

The recommended dose for treating osteoporosis in men is 35 mg once weekly.

The recommended dose for treating and preventing osteoporosis in men and women taking high doses of corticosteroids is 5 mg once daily.

The recommended dose for treating Paget's disease is 30 mg once daily for at least 2 months.

The tablet should be taken at least 30 minutes before the first food or drink of the day other than plain water. This medication should be taken while standing or sitting in an upright position and swallowed whole (not chewed) with 6 to 8 ounces of plain water.

Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication and after you eat your first food of the day to prevent any irritation to your esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach). Do not take risedronate with mineral water, coffee, tea, soda, or juice.

After swallowing the risedronate tablet, wait at least 30 minutes before you take other medications, including calcium supplements or aluminum-, iron-, or magnesium-containing medications (e.g., antacids and mineral supplements) and other supplements or vitamins.

If you are taking this medication on a once-daily schedule and then miss a dose, do not take it later in the day. Resume your usual schedule the next morning. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. If you are taking this medication on a once-weekly basis and you forget to take it on the regularly scheduled day, take one tablet on the day you first remember. Then, return to taking one tablet once a week on your regularly scheduled day. Do not take 2 tablets on the same day.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to risedronate or any ingredients of the medication
  • cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes
  • have abnormalities of the esophagus (tube leading from the mouth to the stomach) which delay emptying of the esophagus into the stomach such as stricture or achalasia
  • have hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium in the blood)
  • have reduced kidney function (creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute)
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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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