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What is alendronate?

Alendronate (also called Fosamax®) is a medicine that treats or prevents osteoporosis (weak or brittle bones). This medicine is available as 5 mg, 10 mg, 35 mg, 40 mg, and 70 mg tablets. All are taken by mouth.

How to take and store alendronate

  • Your doctor can order this medicine to be taken daily or one time a week. Read the directions on the bottle carefully to make sure you take this medicine correctly. Always take the tablet in the morning. If ordered to take it one time a week, take it on the same day each week.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature in a closed container, away from moisture and light.

Possible side effects of alendronate

  • Stomach pain (either aching or burning)
  • Muscle, bone, or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Trouble swallowing, painful
  • Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, gas

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for alendronate

  • If any of this medicine stays in the esophagus, it may cause serious damage. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and drink from your mouth to your stomach when you swallow. To lower the risk of this problem, take the tablets exactly as directed.
  • Take this medicine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, before you eat or have anything to drink. Swallow the tablet whole with a large glass of plain water only. Do not chew or suck on the tablet. Do not take the medicine while you are still in bed, and do not take at bedtime
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after you swallow the tablet before you eat or drink anything or take any other medicines
  • Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicine, and do not lie down before you have eaten some food.
  • Your doctor may order calcium and vitamin D supplements if your body is not getting enough calcium from your diet. You should wait to take this and any other medicines at least 30 minutes after alendronate.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).