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Actonel (risedronate): Osteoporosis Medication Side Effects & Dosage

What is risedronate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Risedronate is in a class of drugs called
    bisphosphonates used for the treatment of
    Paget's disease of bone (in which the
    formation of bone is abnormal) and in persons with osteoporosis (in which the
    density and strength of bones are reduced). Other biphosphonates include the
    drugs alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), pamidronate (Aredia),
    tiludronate (Skelid), and etidronate (Didronel). Bone is continually being
    formed and dissolved. New bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts while
    old bone is removed by cells called osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates strengthen bone
    by inhibiting bone removal (resorption) by osteoclasts. By slowing down the rate
    at which bone is dissolved, risedronate increases the amount of bone.
    Risedronate is more potent in blocking the dissolution of bone than etidronate
    and alendronate.
  • The FDA approved risedronate for the treatment of Paget's
    disease in 1998 and for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in 1999.

What brand names are available for risedronate?

Actonel, Actonel with Calcium, Atelvia

Is risedronate available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for risedronate?


What are the uses for risedronate?


What is another medical term for osteoporosis?
See Answer

What are the side effects of risedronate?

The most common side effects of risedronate include:

Other less common side effects include:

Possible serious side effects include:

Severe irritation of the esophagus (for example, esophagitis, esophageal
ulcers, esophageal erosions) can occur. This occurs more often when patients do
not drink enough water with risedronate, or do not wait 30 minutes before lying

Rarely, patients may experience jaw problems (osteonecrosis of the jaw)
associated with delayed healing and infection after tooth extraction.

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What is the dosage for risedronate?

  • For post menopausal osteoporosis, 5 mg of risedronate is taken
    once daily, 35 mg is taken weekly or 150 mg is taken monthly.
  • For Osteoporosis in
    is treated with 35 mg weekly.
  • For Paget's disease is treated with 30 mg daily
    for two months, and steroid-induced osteoporosis is treated with 5 mg daily.
  • Risedronate should be taken with 6 to 8 ounces of plain water.
  • Because food
    interferes with the absorption of risedronate, it should be taken first thing in
    the morning before anything is eaten or liquids consumed.
  • Also, no food or drink should be
    taken for at least 30 minutes after taking risedronate.
  • To avoid pills sticking and irritating
    the throat or esophagus, persons should not lie down for at least 30 minutes
    after taking risedronate.
  • Also, it should not be taken at the same time as
    iron supplements, vitamins with minerals, or antacids containing calcium, magnesium,
    or aluminum which reduce the absorption of risedronate.

Which drugs or supplements interact with risedronate?

  • Food, calcium, antacids, and medications containing
    iron, magnesium, or aluminum reduce the absorption of risedronate, resulting in
    loss of effectiveness. Thus, it should be taken with plain water only.

Is risedronate safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • The safety and effectiveness of risedronate has not been
    established in
    pregnant women. Physicians must therefore weigh the potential
    benefits and unknown risks carefully.
  • The safety of risedronate for the infant has not been
    established in women who

What else should I know about risedronate?

What preparations of risedronate are available?

  • Tablets: 5, 30,
    35, and 150 mg.
  • Tablets (Delayed release): 35 mg
How should I keep risedronate stored?

Tablets should be
stored at room temperature, 15 C – 30 C (59 F – 86 F).


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