Alendronate is the generic drug name. Fosamax® is the brand name. (There may be other names for this medication.)
How is it Administered?
Alendronate comes as a tablet (taken daily or once a week) and as a liquid (taken once a week) to take by mouth.
- You must take alendronate just after you get out of bed in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Never take it at bedtime or before you get out of bed for the day.
- Swallow tablets with 6–8 ounces of plain water — never take it with any other kind of liquid!
- Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew or crush them. Do not suck on the tablets.
- If you take the solution, drink at least a quarter of a cup (2 ounces) of plain water afterwards.
- After taking your Fosamax, do not eat, drink, take any other medications, vitamins, or antacids, or lie down for at least 30 minutes — remain upright in a sitting or standing position.
- After the 30 minutes have passed, you may eat your first food of the day. After eating, you may lie down.
Why am I Taking Alendronate?
Alendronate is one of the bisphosphonate drugs, which work by preventing bone breakdown and increasing bone density (thickness). It is used to treat and prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to become thin/weak and break easily.
How Does it Work?
There are two kinds of bone cells — osteoblasts that create bone and osteoclasts that break down bone. The creation and destruction of bone is generally kept balanced, though we tend to lose bone mass as we age.
Some cancers cause osteoclasts to accelerate bone destruction. In addition to bone weakness increasing your risk of a fracture, it can also cause pain and release excess calcium into the bloodstream. Calcium can affect your heart rate, among other bodily functions.
Alendronate is a bisphosphonate; these drugs slow down the osteoclasts and may help prevent the complications caused by overactivity of the osteoclasts.