Bisphosphonates

Alendronate and Risendronate belong to a group of medicines used to treat osteoporosis known as bisphosphonates.

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​What is this medication used for​​

Osteoporosis is a medical condition which causes bones to become weak and fragile. Bisphosphonates help to slow down the process of osteoporosis. 
Bisphosphonates prevent bones from breaking down and encourage the bones to build up. 


Dosage and How to Use​​​

  • Do not stop taking your medicines without checking with your doctors.
  • Please follow the instructions on the prescription label. The medicine should be taken at least 30 minutes on an empty stomach, before your first food, drink or other medicines of the day.
  • Swallow the medicine whole and take it with a full glass of plain water.
  • You should remain upright (sitting/standing/walking) for at least 30 minutes after taking the medicine.
  • If you are taking a DAILY dose and missed a dose, SKIP the dose for the day. On the next morning, continue taking one dose. Do not double your dose to make up for the missed dose.
  • ​​If you are taking a WEEKLY dose, choose a day of the week that is most convenient to you. If you missed a weekly dose, take one dose the next morning. Continue your usual schedule of one dose weekly on your chosen day. Do not double your doses to make up for the missed dose. Refer to the table below for an example on how to take a weekly dose.

​​​E.g. Chosen day of the week: Monday ​​
​​Normal Schedule​Take one dose every Monday
​If missed dose (i.e. did not take on Monday)​​Take one dose on Tuesday of the same week
Take the next dose on the following Monday

​Side Effects, Precautions, Contraindication​​

What are the ​​​​​​possible side effects of the medicines?

The common side effects of these medicines include bone, muscle or joint pain and headache. Some people who take this medicine might also experience stomach pain, constipation and diarrhoea.

If you experience the following symptoms, you should stop taking your medicine and see a doctor immediately:

  • ​Difficulty or pain in swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Heartburn that does not get better or becomes worse
  • Gum pain and swelling
  • Loose teeth or tooth pain
  • ​Jaw numbness or a “heavy” feeling in the jaw

How do I know if I am allergic to these ​medicines?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medicine immediately and see your doctor.​

What precautions should I follow when taking the medicines?​​

If you are visiting a dentist, inform them that you are taking a bisphosphonate. You should maintain good oral hygiene and have routine dental check-ups when you are taking these medicines.

Inform your doctor if you have any of the following medical conditions before starting on bisphosphonates:

  • Stomach problems such as gastritis, peptic ulcer or stomach bleeding
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels in your body) or other conditions that may lead to low calcium levels such as vitamin D deficiency or poor calcium absorption problems
  • ​Very bad bone, muscle or joint pain

Handling and Storage​

  • Keep your medicines in the original container or packaging, tightly closed or sealed in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep the medicine out of reach of children.
  • Throw away all expired medicines.


This article answers some common questions about this medicine. It does not contain all the available information. It also does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.


​​PH006-024-E-1216-V1

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Bisphosphonates

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