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Alendronate : Uses, Dosage, Contraindications, Side Effects, Overdose

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  Information on Tablets A-Z






BRAND NAME :  Alendronate

Brand Names:

Fosamax®

Why is this medication prescribed:

Alendronate is used to prevent osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) in women who have undergone menopause (change of life). Alendronate is also used to treat osteoporosis in men and women who have developed the disease due to natural causes or because they took corticosteroids (a type of medication that may cause osteoporosis). Alendronate is also used to treat Paget's disease of the bone (a condition in which the body replaces healthy bones with weak bones). Alendronate is in a class of medications called bisphosphonates. It works by preventing bone breakdown and increasing bone density (thickness) to make bones stronger and less likely to break.

How should this medicine be used:

Alendronate comes as a tablet and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. The liquid is usually taken on an empty stomach once a week in the morning. The tablets are usually taken on an empty stomach once a day in the morning or once a week in the morning. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take alendronate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Alendronate may not work properly and may damage the esophagus (tube between the mouth and stomach) or cause sores in the mouth if it is not taken according to the following instructions. Tell your doctor if you do not understand, do not think you will remember, or are unable to follow these instructions. You must take alendronate immediately after you get out of bed in the morning, and before you eat or drink anything. Never take alendronate at bedtime or before you get up for the day. Swallow the tablets with a full glass (6-8 ounces) of plain water, and drink at least a quarter of a cup (2 ounces) of plain water after drinking alendronate liquid. Never take alendronate with tea, coffee, juice, mineral water, or any liquid other than plain water. Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, crush, or suck on them. After you take alendronate, do not eat, drink, or take any other medications for at least 30 minutes. Do not lie down immediately after you take alendronate. Sit or stand upright until at least 30 minutes have passed and you have eaten your first food of the day. Alendronate controls osteoporosis and Paget's disease of the bone, but does not cure these conditions. Alendronate helps to prevent osteoporosis only as long as it is taken regularly. Continue to take alendronate even if you feel well. Do not stop taking alendronate without talking to your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine:

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow:

Before taking alendronate, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to alendronate or any other medications. tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: antacids; aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve); calcium, iron, or potassium supplements; doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin); quinidine (Quinaglute); and tetracycline (Sumycin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. if you are taking any other medications, vitamins, or antacids by mouth, take them at least 30 minutes after alendronate. tell your doctor if you are unable to sit or stand upright for 30 minutes or to feed yourself. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any problems with your esophagus, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, ulcers, other stomach problems, low levels of calcium in your blood, frequent muscle cramps or spasms, osteomalacia (softening of bones due to lack of vitamin D), or kidney disease. tell your doctor if you are pregnant or are breast-feeding. Also tell your doctor if you plan to become pregnant at any time in the future, because alendronate may remain in your body for many years after you stop taking it. If you become pregnant while taking alendronate, call your doctor. talk to your doctor about other things you can do to prevent osteoporosis from developing or worsening. Your doctor will probably tell you to avoid smoking and drinking large amounts of alcohol and to follow a regular program of weight-bearing exercise.

What special dietary instructions should I follow:

You should eat plenty of foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D while you are taking alendronate. Your doctor will tell you which foods are good sources of these nutrients and how many servings you need each day. If you find it difficult to eat enough of these foods, tell your doctor. In that case, your doctor can prescribe or recommend a supplement.

What should I do if I forget a dose:

If you miss a dose of once-daily alendronate, do not take it later in the day. Skip the missed dose and take one dose the next morning as usual. If you miss a dose of once-weekly alendronate, take one dose the morning after you remember. Then return to taking one dose once each week on your regularly scheduled day. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed one, and never take more than one dose in 1 day.

What side effects can this medication cause:

Alendronate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: stomach pain constipation diarrhea gas bloating or fullness in the stomach change in ability to taste food pain in bones, muscles, or joints headache Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately. It is very important to talk to your doctor right away after you develop these symptoms to be sure you do not develop a serious condition: new or worsening heartburn difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing chest pain upset stomach vomiting bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds black, tarry, or bloody stools mouth sores or pain in the mouth (especially if you chew or suck on tablets) rash (may be severe and may be made worse by sunlight) itching hives swelling of eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat difficulty breathing or swallowing hoarseness eye pain flu-like symptoms fever Some laboratory animals who were given alendronate developed a certain type of cancer. It is not known if alendronate causes this type of cancer in humans. Talk to your doctor about the risk of taking this medication. Alendronate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

What storage conditions are needed for this medicine:

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze alendronate solution. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose:

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911. Symptoms of overdose may include: heartburn upset stomach vomiting bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing stomach pain bloody or black and tarry stool seizures muscle twitches, cramps, or spasms

What other information should I know:

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to alendronate. Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

More information:    Alendronate








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