written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen
• edited by: Emma Lloyd
• updated: 9/10/2010
If you or a loved one has been prescribed this medications it is important to learn more about it. To learn more about alendronate sodium precautions and other information, read on.
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Also known as Fosamax, this medication is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis. It is in the bisphosphonates class of medications. This medication class helps to prevent bone loss by reducing the activity of cells that are responsible for breaking down bone. Alendronate sodium side effects and precautions are something all patients taking this medication should familiarize themselves with.
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How is this Medication Used?
This medication is taken once daily, orally. Patients should take it first thing in the morning before taking any other medications, or eating or drinking, unless their doctor instructs them otherwise. It should be taken with at least six ounces of plain water. Once the patient takes this pill, they should not lie down and must remain upright for a minimum of thirty minutes. Patients should wait a minimum of thirty minutes, though one to two hours is preferable, before eating or drinking anything, but plain water. This medication cannot be taken at bedtime or before waking up for the day. Patients must wait at least thirty minutes, and preferably one to two hours, before taking any other medications, supplements, herbs, or vitamins.
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It is common for patients to experience constipation, gas, stomach pain, and nausea when taking this medication, but these most often subside once the body gets used to it. The serious alendronate sodium side effects often require immediate medical attention and must also be reported to the patient's doctor as soon as possible. These include:
Swelling in the hands, feet, joints, and ankles
Coffee ground-looking vomit
Bone and muscle pain increase
Worsening or new heartburn
Painful or difficult swallowing
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In some cases, this medication will be contraindicated. Such cases include having the following medical conditions and disorders:
Certain other allergies
Any esophageal disorder
Not being able to sit upright or stand for a at least thirty minutes
Severe kidney disease
Low calcium levels
History of difficulty swallowing
Intestinal and stomach disorders
Poor dental hygiene
Previous radiation therapy
Mouth diseases or infections
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Some medications interact with others. Fosamax drug interactions include:
Prednisone and other corticosteroids
Chemotherapy, specifically for cancer
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Low-dose aspirin unless the patient's doctor says it is alright to take it
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Warnings and Precautions
Alendronate sodium precautions should be heeded by all patients. Though infrequent, osteonecrosis, a serious jawbone problem can occur in patients using similar medications. Children should not take this medication because they can experience severe side effects, such as fever, vomiting, and flu-like symptoms. Those who are trying to conceive or already pregnant should avoid this medication. This medication should also be avoided when breastfeeding.
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RxList. (2010). Fosamax. Retrieved on September 1, 2010 from RxList: http://www.rxlist.com/fosamax-drug.htm
Drugs.com. (2010). Fosamax. Retrieved on September 1, 2010 from Drugs.com: http://www.drugs.com/fosamax.html