Fosamax is the trade name of the drug called alendornate or alendronic acid. It belongs to the class of medications known as bisphosphonate drug. It is widely recommended for arresting loss of bone density in osteoporosis patients. Fosamax can provide relief from joint pain in osteoarthritis patients.
Fosamax is also available in combination with vitamin D, the nutrient that plays an important role in sustaining the mineral density of bones.
How Fosamax Works
The density of the bone is controlled by two groups of specialized cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts aid bone formation, while osteoclasts remove the bone tissues, a process known as bone resorption. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone resorption process overpowers the mineralization of bones.
Fosamax prevents loss of bone mass by suppressing bone resorption triggered by osteoclasts. Unlike the first generation bisphosphonate drugs that inhibit both bone resorption as well as the bone mineralization process, alendornate drugs such as Fosamax do not affect the mineralization process, and are therefore considered more effective and safer alternative to the older bisphosphonate medications used for treating osteoarthritis.
Clinical studies have revealed that Fosamax helped to normalize the rate of bone turnover in postmenopausal women diagnosed with osteoporosis. It caused significant improvement in the bone mineral density of the hip, spine and wrist. Treatment with Fosamax also caused significant reduction in the risk of fractures.
Fosamax when combined with vitamin D (Fosamax+D) has the added advantage of improving absorption of calcium and improving mineralization of the bones. By improving bone density, Fosamax reduces joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
How to Use Fosamax for Joint Pain
Depending upon the severity of the osteoarthritis pain, your physician will determine the dosage of Fosamax. The 5 and 10 mg Fosamax tablets can be taken once each day. The higher doses of the drug, available in the form of 35 and 70 mg tablets are taken once a week. It is also available in the form of solution.
Fosamax is taken in the morning on empty stomach. To prevent damage to the esophagus, remember to take the drug according to your physician’s instructions. Remember to drink a full glass of water while swallowing the tablet. Do not chew or suck the tablet. Take the tablet only with plain water and not with beverages, juices, milk or any other fluid. After taking the drug stand or sit upright at least for 30 minutes. You can eat, drink, take another medication or lie down 30 minutes after taking the drug.
People on Fosamax should consume large amounts of calcium and vitamin D rich foods. You may take supplements to prevent deficiency of these nutrients. Avoid or limit alcohol and quit smoking.
Side Effects of Fosamax
Possible side effects of Fosamax include dizziness, headache, nausea, gas, stomach pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, swelling of hands, legs and joints, change in ability to taste and joint, bone and muscle pain. Long-term use of the drug is associated with rare types of leg fracture and thinning of thighbone. Fosamax increases the risk of esophagus ulcer. It is occasionally linked to esophageal cancer.