Fosamax – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage


Drug Trade Name: Fosamax

Category: Bisphosphonates

Generic Name:  alendronate sodium

Introduction and Quick Information:


Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become thinner and break easily whereas in Paget’s disease, bones become weak and soft and may be easily deformed causing a lot of pain.

Fosamax belongs to a class of drugs known as Bisphosphonates. It is used for the treatment of osteoporosis in women, caused by menopause and to treat osteoporosis in both men and women, caused by increased consumption of steroids. It can also be used for the treatment of Paget’s disease. 

Is it Approved by U.S. FDA?

Merck & Co., the first company to get Fosamax approved by FDA on 29th September, 1995. But its patent expired in 2008. Later Teva and Barr Pharmaceuticals released first generic Fosamax and got it approved by FDA on February 6, 2008. FDA recommended Fosamax as an effective drug for the treatment of osteoporosis of various forms.

Usage and Benefits of Fosamax:

Fosamax is most widely recommended because of the following benefits that it brings to a person suffering from bone problems.

  • Treats osteoporosis in women, due to menopause
  • Treats osteoporosis due to excessive steroid intake
  • Treats Paget’s disease
  • Slows down bone loss
  • Increases bone mass

You may also require supplements of calcium and vitamin D for better results.

Fosamax Side Effects:

Every drug has positive as well as adverse impact on human body. This adverse impact is experienced in form of some unusual health problems known as side-effects. One can only reduce the impact of a side-effect but can’t prevent themselves from experiencing it. Some of the side-effects that are experienced commonly are mentioned in list given below-

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Bone, muscle, or joint pain
  • Gas
  • Constipation

Side-effects actually signify how your body reacts to a certain drug. Thus, it is quite possible that your body would show some of the above-mentioned side-effects. Therefore, any unusual behavior after taking medication should be reported to the doctor so that tests can be performed and dose adjustments can be made accordingly.

General Recommended Dosages of Fosamax:

The factors which help decide appropriate dosage for you are your age, current medical condition and severity of the disease.


Fosamax is available in tablet form and also as a liquid which is to be taken in different concentrations among adults. Fosamax dosage for prevention from osteoporosis is nearly half of that required for treating osteoporosis. Any alteration in dosage recommended by your doctor can be hazardous. So it must be taken care of.

In case I miss the Dose?

Missing a dose only slows down your recovery process but does not halt it. You can come back on track by maintaining schedule of doses and forget about the missed dose because if you take double dose then you may face side-effects associated with overdose.   

In case I Take Overdose?

Fosamax overdose can lead to following symptoms in most cases-

  • Ulcers of the intestines, stomach, or esophagus
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Reduction in phosphate and calcium levels in blood

In case you face any of these side-effects, seek medical help and go for a complete treatment program that may include continuous monitoring of pulse rate and BP, giving calcium and fluids through intravenous line etc.  

Drug Interactions of Fosamax:

Drug interactions of Fosamax are listed below-

  • Aspirin
  • Vitamin D2
  • Calcium 600D
  • Synthroid
  • Lipitor
  • Simvastatin
  • Lisinopril
  • Prednisone

The above listed drugs and even some more that have not been listed can interact with Fosamax to cause adverse effects because they comprise of chemicals that could be reactive to those present in Fosamax. The reaction can occur directly or through bloodstream. So, before starting any new medication, consult your doctor and ask him about the drug interactions of the new drug that you are about to take.

Life style and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Fosamax:

When on Fosamax, you must follow a healthy lifestyle and incorporate nutritional food habits as it will bring fast and best results in the treatment process of osteoporosis. Some of the basic elements of healthy lifestyle which will boost the effectiveness of  Fosamax are listed below-

  • Weight bearing exercises
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Periodic visit to the healthcare provider

As far as nutritional food habits are concerned, you need to take food and drinks rich in vitamin D and calcium content or you can go for calcium and vitamin D supplements.  

How Safe is Fosamax for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

Fosamax is categorized under category C of FDA pregnancy categories. Fosamax showed evidence of skeletal deviation during animal studies. This is why Fosamax is considered safe for pregnant women. It should be recommended to pregnant women only if merits outweigh demerits.

The secretion of Fosamax in breast milk is not known yet. As it is used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, thus, it is not prescribed to pregnant ladies or nursing mothers.  

Complications and Conditions possible due to prolonged use of Fosamax:

Prolonged use of Fosamax can increase the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw. It is extremely disfiguring and painful. Exposed portions of the jaw bone need to be removed by surgery.

Symptoms of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw are listed below-

  • Poor healing of gums or infection
  • Loose teeth or toothache
  • Severe jaw pain
  • Severe pain in the hip, knee or shoulder

Availability of Fosamax:

Fosamax is available in the form of tablets and liquids. You can buy them from local medical stores launched by FDA across the country. This medication is also available at government hospitals where treatment of osteoporosis is possible. But you can buy them only if you have your doctor’s prescription.