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What is alendronate

Alendronate is a compound that alters the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in your body. alendronate increases new bone formation.

Fosamax is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis and to treat Paget's disease. Fosamax is also used to treat osteoporosis that is caused by treatment with a corticosteroid.

Fosamax may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

General medical information about Fosamax

Some forms of alendronate are taken once a day. Others are taken only once a week. It is very important that you follow your doctor's directions. If you take alendronate once a week, take it on the same day each week.

After swallowing the tablet, do not lie down, remain fully upright sitting, standing or walking, for at least 30 minutes and until after you have eaten.

Do not crush, chew, or suck the tablets. Swallow them whole.

Do not take alendronate at bedtime or before getting up for the day.

Who should not take Fosamax

Before taking Fosamax, tell your doctor if you
- have a problem swallowing, such as a narrowing of your esophagus;
- have esophageal ulcers or an esophageal disease;
- have a condition that causes low levels of calcium in your body;
- have kidney disease;
- have stomach ulcers or other stomach or digestive problems; or
- are unable to stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes.

You may not be able to take Fosamax, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Fosamax is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether Fosamax will harm an unborn baby. Do not take Fosamax without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.

It is also not known whether Fosamax passes into breast milk. Do not take Fosamax without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should take Fosamax

Take Fosamax exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Some forms of alendronate are taken once a day. Others are taken only once a week. It is very important that you follow your doctor's directions. If you take alendronate once a week, take it on the same day each week.

Take Fosamax first thing in the morning, at least 30 minutes before you eat any food or drink any liquid (other than plain water). This timing is very important for getting the maximum amount of medication from each dose. Foods and beverages greatly decrease the effect of Fosamax.

Take each dose with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of tap water or bottled water. Taking each dose with a full glass of water will ensure proper swallowing of the tablet and reduce the risk of mouth or throat irritation. Do not take this medication with mineral water, juice, or any other beverage.

After swallowing the tablet, do not lie down, remain fully upright sitting, standing or walking, for at least 30 minutes and until after you have eaten.

Do not crush, chew, or suck the tablets. Swallow them whole.

Do not take Fosamax at bedtime or before getting up for the day.

If you have difficulty or pain upon swallowing, chest pain, or new or worsening heartburn, stop taking Fosamax and call your doctor.

It is important that you continue taking Fosamax for as long as your doctor prescribes it. Fosamax can treat or prevent osteoporosis only if you continue to take it.

Store Fosamax at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose:

If you take alendronate every day and you miss a dose, skip that dose and take your next regularly scheduled dose the following day. Missing one dose will not affect your treatment. Do not take two tablets at the same time.

If you take alendronate once a week and you miss a dose, take the missed dose on the morning after you remember. Do not take two tablets on the same day. Return to taking one tablet once a week, as originally scheduled on your chosen day.

What happens if you overdose:

Seek emergency medical attention.

The symptoms of an Fosamax overdose are unknown, but the following symptoms might be expected: nausea, heartburn, pain in your abdomen, other stomach-related symptoms, muscle cramps, uncontrollable facial grimacing, seizures, irritability, and abnormal behavior.

Avoid while taking Fosamax

Follow you doctor's recommendations about drinking alcohol and smoking. These activities are related to decreased bone density.

Possible side effects of Fosamax

Stop taking Fosamax and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- difficulty or pain when swallowing;
- chest pain;
- pain or burning under your ribs or in your back; or
- new or worsening heartburn.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Fosamax and talk to your doctor if you experience
- abdominal discomfort;
- stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation;
- headache;
- muscle, bone, or joint soreness or aches;
- eye pain;
- a rash; or
- an altered sense of taste.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Fosamax

Antacids and other medicines taken by mouth may decrease the effects of Fosamax. Do not take any other medicines within 30 minutes after a dose of Fosamax. Talk to your doctor before taking any other medicines during treatment with Fosamax.

Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, others), ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis, Oruvail), indomethacin (Indocin, Indocin SR), naproxen (Anaprox, Aleve, Naprosyn), oxaprozin (Daypro), nabumetone (Relafen), piroxicam (Feldene), and others may increase the risk of damage to your stomach if they are taken during treatment with Fosamax. Talk to your doctor before taking anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers or fever reducers during treatment with Fosamax.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Fosamax. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

All prescription drugs:

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herceptin humalog humira hydroxyzine hyzaar  
ibuprofen imdur imitrex imodium inderal insulin integrilin iressa 
kaletra keflex kenalog keppra ketek klonopin kytril  
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