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Actonel or the generic Risedronate belong to a class of medicines known as bisphosphonates which are prescribed to treat conditions such as osteoporosis and Paget’s disease that affect the formation, density, and strength of bones. Having either of these conditions will put you at risk for fractures with even the slightest fall or misstep. Your doctor can request a bone mineral density (BMD) test to check for signs of osteoporosis. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn't keep up with the removal of old bone. New bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts while old bone is removed by cells called osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates, such as Actonel, strengthen bone by inhibiting bone removal (resorption) by osteoclasts. Your chance of developing osteoporosis increases as you age, after menopause, or if you are taking corticosteroid medications for a long time.
Although osteoporosis is more common in seniors, it can affect women and men of all ages. It is particularly common among women who have reached menopause when the production of estrogen decreases. Estrogen is a key factor in the protection of bone health.
In addition to treatment for osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe Actonel if you have Paget’s disease, a condition which disrupts your body’s normal bone recycling process. Bones may become misshapen and fragile. Although osteoporosis and Paget’s disease have no cure, Actonel can help to reduce your risk of fractures as it strengthens the bones.
Before using Actonel you should advise your doctor of any esophagus problems, difficulty swallowing, low levels of calcium in the blood, kidney disease, intestinal disorders (such as ulcers), or if you are unable to sit upright or stand for at least thirty minutes, as Actonel can cause damage to your esophagus. Actonel must be swallowed whole with 6-8 ounces of water.
Your doctor should be aware of other medical conditions you have and provide a list of current OTC and Rx drugs you take or use, including herbal remedies and vitamin supplements, to be certain Actonel is safe to take.
Certain dairy products, calcium-enriched juice, and antacids containing calcium/magnesium/aluminum, may interfere with absorption of Actonel. Until you know how Actonel will affect you, use caution during some activities so you do not fall or stumble and cause an injury. Keep Actonel and other medications out of children’s reach and never share them with anyone.
You should notify your doctor if you have any serious side effects, including: eye/vision problems; chest pain; difficulty swallowing; severe joint or muscle pain; jaw pain; severe abdominal pain.