Generic Name: alendronate

Brand Names: Fosamax and Fosamax D


Drug Functionality:

Indicated for use in men and women to prevent bone breakdown and to increase bone density.  , a type of oral biophosponate, is most often prescribed to postmenopausal women, men with osteoporosis, men and women who are on corticosteroids, cancer patients in jeopardy of bone fractures due to bone metastases, and those with Paget’s disease (ostetis deformans).


Dosage should be followed as per the prescription and any alterations to the medication should be done only under medical supervision. Consumption amounts and rates vary depending on condition.  Medications are most often given at larger doses once a week or smaller doses daily.  All Fosamax users should following these prescribed guidelines:

  • Take Fosamax upon rising in the morning at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking
  • Take Fosamax with a full glass of water (6-8 ounces) followed immediately by a cup of water (2 ounces)
  • Remain upright and do not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after taking Fosamax


Patients who also suffer from any of the following conditions should consult with a doctor before taking this medicine:

Allergies, including those to food, dyes, or preservative

  • Narrowing of the esophagus (an esophageal stricture)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Low blood (hypocalcemia)
  • Inability to sit upright or stand for 30 minutes
  • disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • If you are pregnant, want to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
  • If you are planning to have a dental procedure

Side Effects

Common Side Effects:

  • Back, Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling Bloated or Full
  • Flu-like Symptoms
  • Gas
  • Mild Upset Stomach or Stomach Pain
  • Swelling in Hands and Feet
  • Nausea/Vomiting

Serious Side Effects:

If you are taking Fosamax and experience any of the following side effects, contact your doctor or health provider immediately:

Severe Allergic Reaction (rash, hives, swelling of the mouth, face, or tongue, tightness int eh chest)

  • Black, Tarry, or Bloody Stools
  • Chest Pain
  • Coughing or Vomiting Blood
  • Difficulty or Painful Swallowing
  • Jaw Pain
  • Mouth Sores
  • Pain in the ribs or back
  • Severe Heartburn/Pain in the Upper Stomach
  • Severe Bone, Muscle or Joint Pain (especially in hip, groin, or thigh area)

The following conditions are the most severe side effects resulting from Fosamax use.

  1. Gastrointestinal Disorders

    Long-term use of an oral biophosponate can cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and esophageal disorders. Patients taking Fosamax must be able to sit or stand for at least thirty minutes after taking or patients can develop mouth sores and esophageal problems.

  1. Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)

    — Osteonecrosis, or “Dead Jaw,” occurs when there is a loss of blood to the bone and tissue surrounding the jaw; the lack of blood to the bone causes the bone to starve and eventually die. Sufferers may experience jaw pain, swelling, numbness, tooth loss in addition to gum infection and the slow healing of the mouth or jaw after injury or surgery. Once diagnosed, ONJ is difficult to treat.

  1. Atypical Femur Fractures

    —When used for more than five years, biophosponate treatment may cause patients to suffer from a fracture of the thighbone with little or no trauma.  These fracture occur more often in women then in men. 

Have You Been Affected by Fosamax?

Any individual or the relative of an individual who has suffered due to Fosamax’s side effects is permitted to file a lawsuit against Merck