by on April 22, 2012
Brand Names:Fosamax
Generic name:alendronate
Pregnancy Category:C
Half-life:126 months

What is Fosamax?

Fosamax is a brand name medication sold by Merck, and its generic form is known as alendronate. This drug is a bisphosphonate drug that is used for the treatment of bone diseases like osteoporosis and works by in the body by altering the process of bone formation and breakdown resulting in a slowdown in bone loss and subsequent increase in bone mass. It is sometimes marketed in combination with vitamin D.

Alendronate was approved by the U.S. FDA in September 1995. It was first manufactured by Merck & Co. Inc. under the trade name Fosamax. In 2008, Merck’s U.S. patent for alendronate expired giving way to the production and distribution of its generic form.   The first generic version of alendronate was marketed in February 2008 by Barr Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals later that year.  Some other pharmaceutical companies that manufacture generic Fosamax include Mylan, Watsons, and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory.

Fosamax is available in tablets and solution. It is dispensed in the following dosage strengths 5 mg, 10 mg, 35 mg, 40 mg and 70 mg tablets, and as 70 mg/75 ml solution.

Fosamax Uses

Fosamax is a prescription medication that is approved for the use of treating and preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. It is also approved for the treatment of this bone disease in men, and it may also treat Paget’s disease of the bone. In Paget’s disease patients, Fosamax is recommended for people that are experiencing symptoms, have very high alkaline phosphatase levels, or are at risk for future complications of the disease.

fosamaxWhen taking Fosamax or alendronate, patients should take it upon waking up in the morning, and it should be consumed with a large glass of plain water. Patients should wait at least 30 minutes before drinking any beverages or consuming food, supplements, or other medications. It is also recommended that people that take Fosamax stay sitting or standing for 30 minutes after taking the drug and they should not lay down.

Your healthcare provider may recommend this medication for other purposes not mentioned in this article. Examples of non-FDA approved uses of Fosamax are as antidote for vitamin D overdose and for treatment of osteoporosis due to spinal injury.

How to Take Fosamax

For this drug to work effectively, it must be taken exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It should be taken upon awakening, at least 30 minutes before eating breakfast or drinking anything. Fosamax must be swallowed whole followed by a full glass of water. It is recommended that you use only plain water when taking this medication. Do not use coffee, tea, juice, and even mineral water. Furthermore, do not eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after taking this medication; this includes other medicines as well as vitamins and other supplements.

Remain in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after taking Fosamax, do not recline or lie down. If you cannot stand or sit upright for at 30 minutes, do not take this medication. Fosamax is associated with serious stomach and intestinal problems which make it necessary to stay in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicine.

Important Things To Remember When Taking Fosamax

  • Fosamax can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw (bone loss in the jaw). Watch out for symptoms such as jaw pain, numbness, swelling, gum infection, loss of teeth, or retarded healing after dental/oral surgery or injury. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is more common in patients who have cancer or have been treated with radiation, chemotherapy, or steroids.
  • If you need to undergo any dental work, particularly surgery, be sure to inform your dentist that you are taking Fosamax. You may be required to discontinue this medicine before performing any dental procedure.
  • Discuss with your healthcare provider the perceived benefits and potential risks of using Fosamax.
  • Fosamax therapy is just one part of a holistic treatment program that may include exercise, diet, and taking nutritional supplements. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.