Biphosphonate Therapy (For Osteoporosis)
Bisphosphonates are used to both prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. These drugs help slow the loss of bone density, and so reduce the risk of spinal and hip fractures. Alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel) are two kinds of biphosphonates.
If a bone density test, X-ray, or other diagnostic test shows that you have osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe bisphosphonates to preserve the density of your bones. Biphosphonates are also used to treat other bone diseases, such as Paget's disease.
Biphosphonates are oral medications taken at a rate your doctor prescribes, ranging from every day to once or twice a week. They are often taken first thing in the morning, with a full glass of water, and on an empty stomach. You should not lie down, eat, or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after taking the medicine.
Side effects are rare if the medication is taken as directed. Some patients may have an upset stomach, or feel the symptoms of heartburn after taking biphosphonates.
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