Alendronate (By mouth)


Alendronate (a-LEN-droe-nate)

Treats or prevents osteoporosis. Also treats Paget disease of the bone.

Brand Name(s)

Binosto, Fosamax

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet, Fizzy Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Your doctor may want you to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Follow directions on when to take the supplements.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • If any of this medicine stays in your esophagus, it may cause serious damage. To lower the risk of this problem, use this medicine exactly as directed.
  • Take this medicine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, before you eat or drink anything (except water).
    • Tablet: Swallow the tablet whole with a large glass (6 to 8 ounces) of plain water only (not mineral water, coffee, tea, soda, juice, or any other liquid). Do not chew or suck on the tablet.
    • Oral liquid: Drink at least 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of plain water after you take the medicine.Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
    • Effervescent (fizzy) tablet: Dissolve the effervescent tablet in 4 ounces of room temperature plain water only (not mineral water or flavored water). Wait at least 5 minutes after the bubbling stops, stir the solution for 10 seconds, and then drink it.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after you take this medicine before you eat or drink anything or take any other medicine. This will help your body absorb the medicine.
  • Take this medicine while you are sitting or standing. Do not take it while you are in bed or at bedtime.
  • Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after you the medicine, and do not lie down until after you have eaten.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose the next morning. Do not take 2 tablets on the same day. Then return to your regular schedule.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Protect the effervescent tablet from moisture. Do not remove it from the blister pack until you are ready to use it. Do not freeze.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how alendronate works. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
    • Aspirin or products that contain aspirin
    • Cancer or radiation treatment
    • NSAID pain or arthritis medicine, such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen
    • Steroid medicine, such as hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisone
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after you take alendronate before you take any other oral medicine, including aluminum, magnesium, iron, calcium supplements, or antacids.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, stomach ulcers, heartburn, cancer, anemia, or blood clotting problems, or any other stomach or bowel problems, dental problems, or you wear dentures. Tell your doctor if you have a mineral imbalance or malabsorption syndrome. Also tell your doctor if you smoke or drink alcohol.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Increased risk for a break in your thigh bone
    • Low calcium levels
    • Esophagus harm
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine could cause jaw problems, especially if you have a tooth pulled or have other dental work.
  • The effervescent tablet contains sodium. Tell your doctor if you are on a salt-restricted diet, or if you have a history of heart failure, high blood pressure, or other heart or blood vessel disease.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Chest pain, new or worsening heartburn, or a burning feeling in your throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Heavy feeling in the jaw, loose teeth, or other tooth problems
  • Muscle spasms, twitching, tingling, numbness
  • Pain, swelling, or numbness in your mouth or jaw
  • Severe bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • Unusual or severe pain in your stomach, thigh, groin, or hip

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild stomach pain

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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