What is this medication for?
Alendronate belongs to a family of medications known as bisphosphonates. It works by increasing the density of bones, making them less likely to break. Alendronate is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis for postmenopausal women. It is also used for the treatment of osteoporosis for men.
As well, it may be used to treat steroid-induced osteoporosis for men and women (osteoporosis caused by taking corticosteroids, such as prednisone, for long periods of time).
It may also be used to treat Paget's disease of the bone for both men and women.
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?
Alendronate by Cobalt Laboratories is no longer being manufactured for sale in the USA.
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?
When used to treat osteoporosis for postmenopausal women, the recommended dose of alendronate is 10 mg daily or 70 mg once weekly. The optimal duration of use has not been determined. Your doctor should re-evaluate your conditions on a periodic basis.
When used to prevent osteoporosis for postmenopausal women, the recommended dose is 5 mg once a day or 35 mg once weekly. The optimal duration of use has not been determined. Your doctor should re-evaluate your conditions on a periodic basis.
To treat osteoporosis for men, the recommended dose of alendronate is 10 mg daily or 70 mg once weekly. The optimal duration of use has not been determined. Your doctor should re-evaluate your conditions on a periodic basis.
For the treatment of steroid-induced osteoporosis for men and women, the recommended dose is 5 mg daily, except for postmenopausal women not taking estrogen. For those women, the recommended dose is 10 mg once a day. The optimal duration of use has not been determined. Your doctor should re-evaluate your conditions on a periodic basis.
When used to treat Paget's disease of the bone for men and women, the recommended dose is 40 mg once a day for 6 months.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as the severity of the condition, 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.
The tablet should be taken upon rising for the day, at least one-half hour before the first food, beverage, or medication of the day. To reduce the risk of irritating the throat or esophagus, take the tablet with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of plain water only. After swallowing, do not lie down until at least 30 minutes have passed and you have eaten your first food of the day. Swallow the tablets whole. Do not chew or suck on the tablets.
Do not take this medication at bedtime or before getting up in the morning. If you have trouble swallowing, pain upon swallowing, pain around the sternum (breastbone), or new or worsening heartburn, stop taking alendronate and contact your doctor at once.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
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 alendronate if you:
- are allergic to alendronate or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes
- have an abnormality of the esophagus (passage leading from throat to stomach) that delays the emptying of the esophagus into the stomach
- have low blood calcium