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Medication for Osteoporosis in Post-Menopausal Women

Alendronate is a prescription medication used for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones making the bones porous and fragile where the risk of fracture is greater. Osteoporosis in post-menopausal women happens when there is lack of estrogen production in the body.

Alendronate is also used to treat osteoporosis in both men and women who are taking a corticosteroid. It is also prescribed by doctors for the treatment of Paget’s disease, a condition where the bones are weak and soft and may be easily broken and deformed.

Alendronate belongs to the group of medications known as bisphosphonates. It works by slowing the bone loss (osteoblasts) thereby increasing the bone density or thickness. By increasing the bone density, the risk of bone fracture is reduced. It prevents the bone from breaking down.

How to use Alendronate?

Alendronate comes in a tablet form that you need to take by mouth. Take this tablet on an empty stomach. Take it at least 30 minutes before any beverages, food and other medication in the morning. By doing this, more drugs are absorbed into the body. For liquid Alendronate, drink plenty of water so the medicine will reach the intestines more quickly. After taking this medication, do not lie down for 30 minutes to allow the drug to reach the stomach faster. The usual recommended dose is as follows:

  • Osteoporosis: The recommended dose for post-menopausal women is 10mg once a day or 70 mg once a week. The same dose goes for men.
  • Steroid-induced osteoporosis: The dose is 5mg once a day, except for women not taking estrogen.
  • Paget’s disease: The recommended dose is 40 mg daily for 6 months.

What are the side effects of Alendronate?

Some side effects of Alendronate are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Change in the ability to taste food
  • Swelling of the hands, joints and legs

Serious side effects are:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Pain and difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Painful and swollen gums
  • Fever
  • Peeling skin
  • Eye pain
  • Loosening of teeth

Important Information

  • Do not take Alendronate if:
    • you are allergic to this drug
    • you cannot sit or stand for at least 30 minutes
    • you have liver problems
    • you have stomach problems that delay the emptying of the esophagus into the stomach
  • Take this drug with plain water only
  • Do not eat, drink or take any medicines after taking Alendronate.

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