Senior Health Home > What Is Alendronate Used For?

Alendronate is used for treating osteoporosis and Paget's disease of the bone. In postmenopausal women, the drug is also approved to prevent osteoporosis. The medication works by slowing down the rate at which bone is broken down and encouraging normal reformation. "Off-label" alendronate uses include the treatment of high calcium levels in the blood and cancer that has spread to the bones.

What Is Alendronate Used For? -- An Overview

Alendronate sodium (Fosamax®) is a prescription medication that is part of a group of medications known as bisphosphonates. It is approved for the following uses:
 
  • Preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
  • Treating osteoporosis in men and women who take steroids
  • Treating osteoporosis in men
  • Treating Paget's disease of bone in men and women.
     

Why Is Alendronate Used for Paget's Disease?

Normally, bone is continuously being broken down and rebuilt. Paget's disease of the bone is a condition involving rapid breakdown of bone combined with abnormal reformation. The abnormally reformed bone is weaker than normal. Symptoms of Paget's disease can include pain and bent or broken bones. Bisphosphonates such as alendronate can help slow down the rate at which bone breaks down and can also help the body to build bone more normally.
 
Not all people with Paget's disease need to be treated with a bisphosphonate. Alendronate is recommended for people who:
 
  • Have very high alkaline phosphatase levels (a measure of the disease's severity)
  • Have Paget's disease symptoms
  • Are at risk for future complications of Paget's disease.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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