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Drug Information

What is Alendronate used for?

Alendronate is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Postmenopausal osteoporosis (bone related disease where the risk of breaking bone increases);
  • Prevention of vertebral and hip fractures;
  • Osteoporosis in men at increased risk of fracture;
  • Prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (a form of bone diseasethat is caused by taking glucocorticoid medicines);
  • Paget’s disease of bone

Alendronate may also be prescribed for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

How does Alendronate work?

Alendronate is a bisphosphonate. It specifically inhibits or stops the activity of osteoclasts, the bone-resorbing cells. It works by slowing down the bone loss.

Bisphosphonates are synthetic analogues of pyrophosphate that bind to the hydroxyapatite found in bone.

How to take Alendronate?

  • The dosage of oral tablet, oral solution and effervescent tablet of Alendronate depends on the age, weight and medical condition of an individual. Take Alendronate as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Take this tablet once a day, after getting up for the day and before taking your first food, beverage, or any other medicine.  Do not chew or break the tablets.
  • Take the medicine with a full glass of water. Stay in upright condition (sitting, standing or walking) for at least half an hour.
  • Please do not lie down after taking the medicine until you take your first meal of the day.
  • Alendronate works best when taken in empty stomach.
  • Do not take the medicine before going to bed as it may cause a lot of side effects.
  • Do not discontinue Alendronate without consulting a doctor.
  • Use the medicine at the same time of the day every day.
  • If you miss a dose of Alendronate, please take it immediately once you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

What should you do when you have taken an overdose of Alendronate?

If you have taken an overdose of Alendronate, please contact your doctor immediately.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Heart burn
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain in the oesophagus (chest pain)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Mood swings
  • Diarrhoea

What are the drugs that interact withAlendronate?

Drugs that interact with Alendronate:

  • Ascorbic acid
  • Aspirin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Calcium/vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Ergocalciferol
  • Fluticasone/Salmeterol
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Tiotropium

This is not a comprehensive list of drug interactions. Consult your doctor to know more about other possible drug interactions.

What are the side effects of Alendronate?

Most common side effects of Alendronate are: 

  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Asthma
  • Nausea
  • Severe heartburn, burning pain in your upper stomach, or coughing up blood
  • New or worsening heartburn
  • Muscle cramps

Please stop your tablets and contact your physician immediately if you suffer from

  • hypersensitivity reactions including urticaria (swelling and itching of skin (upper layer of skin) and angioedema (swelling of face, eyes, throat, tongue, lower layer of the skin);
  • severe skin allergies such as blisters on skin, mouth, lips, eyes and genitals (commonly called Steven Johnsons Syndrome);
  • kidney problems;
  • severe pain in the oesophagus (difficulty or pain when swallowing);
  • pain or burning under the ribs or in the back;
  • difficulty in breathing;
  • fever, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • black tarry or bloody stools;
  • severe pain in joint, bone, or muscle.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

What special precautions should be followed while taking Alendronate?

Seek doctor’s advice before taking any other drug or herbal products while on Alendronate.

You are advised not to take Alendronate if

  • it has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
  • the foil or packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering or there is discolouration.

What should you tell your doctor before taking Alendronate?

Tell your doctor if

  • you are allergic to Alendronate.
  • you are taking any other drugs, OTC medications, herbal products or nutritional supplements.
  • you have certain oesophagus (pain while eating or drinking) problems (narrowing, blockage).
  • you are not able to sit or stand upright for at least 30 minutes.
  • you have low blood calcium levels.
  • you drink or smoke.
  • you have low blood vitamin D levels.
  • you have cancer, anaemia, or blood clotting problems.
  • you have poor dental hygiene or will have dental treatment.
  • if you have calcium metabolism problems, or nutrient absorption problems (malabsorption syndrome), or you are unable to take calcium or vitamin D supplements
  • you have asthma.
  • you are on medication for mental treatment.
  • you have severe kidney problems.
  • you are planning a surgery or any procedure.
  • you are pregnant or trying to conceive or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions about Alendronate

  • How should Alendronate be stored?
    • Alendronate tablets and oral suspension must be stored in a cool temperature ranging from 15 to 30°C in a dry place.
    • The tablets and suspension must not be exposed to light and moisture as it becomes less active. Alendronate must be kept out of children’s reach.
    • Oral suspension of Alendronate must not be kept in the refrigerator.
  • Should I follow any special dietary instructions while taking Alendronate?
  • Have a diet as advised by your doctor. Calcium or iron supplements, vitamins, antacids, coffee, tea, soda, mineral water, calcium-enriched juices and food can decrease the absorption of Alendronate.

  • What are the other formulations of Alendronate available?
  • Alendronate comes in oral tablets, oral suspension and effervescent tablet formulations.

  • Can I drive while taking Alendronate?
  • Alendronate does not affect the driving ability. However, if you are feeling dizzy, it is better to avoid driving.

  • Can I drink alcohol with Alendronate?
  • It is better to avoid alcohol while taking Alendronate as the medicine increases the effect of alcohol.


    • The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Please seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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