Fosamax belongs to a group of drugs called bisphosphonates that slow down bone loss. The active ingredient in Fosamax is alendronate sodium which is formulated as tablets and an oral solution.
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Fosamax (Alendronate)

Fosamax is a drug that falls under the group known as bisphosphonates. It helps in changing the cycle of the processes involved in formation and breakdown of bone.

It functions by slowing down the process of bone loss and increasing the bone mass. This prevents bone fracture at large.

The generic name of fosamax is alendronate.

Indications of Fosamax (Alendronate)

Fosamax (Alendronate) is used:

  • In women for the treatment of osteoporosis caused by menopause

The chance of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women is high. Fosamax (Alendronate) works by increasing the bone mass and hence reduce the susceptibility of bones to fracture especially fractures of spine and hip.

  • In women for the prevention of osteoporosis caused by menopause

Fosamax (Alendronate) is a potent drug used for preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis in women.

  • In both men and women for the treatment of osteoporosis caused by the use of steroids

Men and women who take glucocorticoids in a regular dose equivalent to 7.5 mg or more of prednisone develop glucocorticoid- induced osteoporosis. Fosamax (Alendronate) is used in the treatment of osteoporosis caused due to the use of steroids.

  • In both men and women who have low bone mineral density

Fosamax (Alendronate) is indicated for use in men and women who have low bone mineral density.

  • In both men and women for the treatment of Paget’s disease

Fosamax (Alendronate) is a potent drug for the treatment of Paget’s disease in both men and women. This drug is indicated for the patients who are suffering from Paget’s disease and have alkaline phosphatase about two times of upper limit of the normal. Or, it is used in the patients who are symptomatic and also, in the males and females who have higher susceptibility of development of future complications from the disease.

  • In men, who are suffering from osteoporosis, for increasing the bone mass
Fosamax (Alendronate Sodium MSD) tablets

Side- effects of Fosamax (Alendronate)

The serious side- effects of Fosamax (Alendronate) include:

  • Severe allergic reaction to Fosamax (Alendronate) leading to symptoms like rashes or hives, swelling on throat, tongue, lips or face and difficulty in breathing
  • New or worsening heartburn, pain in chest
  • Pain or burning sensations under the ribs or in back
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • Severe heartburn
  • Burning pain in the upper stomach
  • Coughing up blood
  • Severe joint pain or sever pain in bone
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Unusual pain in the hip or in thigh
  • Symptoms of flu
  • Fever
  • Body ache
  • Pain in jaw, swelling or numbness

These symptoms caused by fosamax (alendronate) require medical attention. If you experience any one or more of these symptoms, you must visit your doctor.

The common side- effects caused by Fosamax (Alendronate) include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Pain in stomach
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bone pain or joint pain
  • Pain in muscles

How to take Fosamax (Alendronate)

Take this drug exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

The drug should only be used in pregnancy if the benefits of the drug overweigh the risks to foetus.

You should not take the drug if you are a nursing mother.

Drug Uses

Fosamax is available by prescription only. This drug slows down the process of bone loss which causes post-menopausal osteoporosis, steroid-induced osteoporosis and Paget’s disease.

Doctors may prescribe Fosamax for other medical conditions.


Fosamax should be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Never increase or decrease the dose without consulting a doctor. Fosamax should be taken with a full glass of water. Do not use mineral water. The tablet should be swallowed whole – do not break, crush, chew or suck the tablet.

The dosage of Fosamax is once a day or once a week, depending on your doctor. The daily dose should be taken in the morning half an hour before eating or drinking, or taking any other medication. The weekly dose should be taken in the morning, on the same day every week.

Do not sit in a reclining position, and do not lie down, for at least half an hour after taking a dose of Fosamax. Do not drink anything except plain water for half an hour after a dose of Fosamax, and do not take any other medications for half an hour after a dose of Fosamax.

Missed Dose

MISSED DAILY DOSE: Skip the missed dose and wait until the next day. Never take two doses in one day.

MISSED WEEKLY DOSE: Ignore the missed dose, and take a dose the next morning. Thereafter revert to your normal weekly schedule. Never take two doses in one day.


Do not take Fosamax if you are allergic to alendronate.

Inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: kidney disease, a deficiency of Vitamin D, low blood calcium, stomach or esophagus ulcer.

Ensure that your doctor has a full knowledge of your medical history, including any other medications you are using. These include vitamin supplements, herbal medicines and over-the-counter remedies. Fosamax can react badly with certain medications.

Pregnant women, or women planning to become pregnant, should not use Fosamax as this drug can cause harm to an unborn fetus. It is not yet known if Fosamax passes into breast milk so women who are breast-feeding should discuss the risks of using Fosamax with a doctor.


Call for emergency medical assistance if any of the following allergic symptoms occur: difficulty in breathing, hives, or swelling of the lips, face, tongue or throat.

Contact your doctor if you have any of the following serious side-effects: difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, burning pain under the ribs or in the back, severe heartburn, severe bone or muscle pain, jaw pain, swelling, or numbness.

Less serious side-effects may include mild heartburn or upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, constipation, joint pain or swelling, back pain, swelling of the hands or feet, dizziness, weakness, or headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects. If any other uncomfortable symptoms occur and persist, contact your doctor.


If overdose with Fosamax is suspected, contact a poison centre immediately. Give the patient a full glass of milk to drink. Do not induce vomiting or let the patient lie down. Symptoms of overdose include heartburn, nausea, stomach pain, muscle cramps, diarrhea, tingling or numbness, tight facial muscles, irritability, unusual behavior, or convulsions.


Fosamax should be kept in a cool, dry place away from sun and moisture. Keep this medication out of children’s reach.