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Alendronate (By mouth)

Treats or prevents osteoporosis. Also treats Paget disease of the bone.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Alendronate is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis (thinning of the bone) in women after menopause. This medicine may also be used to increase bone mass in men who have osteoporosis, and in men and women to prevent and treat osteoporosis caused by long-term use of corticosteroids (cortisone-like medicine). It may also be used to treat Paget's disease of the bone. This medicine is available… Read more
Brand names include
Binosto, Fosamax
Drug classes About this
Calcium Regulator
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Alendronate for preventing fractures caused by osteoporosis in postmenopausal women

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of alendronate for preventing fractures (broken bones) caused by osteoporosis.

Alendronate for the prevention and treatment of men osteoporosis: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Zhu RX, Ouyang LL, Wu TX.  Alendronate for the prevention and treatment of men osteoporosis: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2006; 6(3): 195-201

A systematic review and economic evaluation of alendronate, etidronate, risedronate, raloxifene and teriparatide for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common disease in the elderly, with an estimated 2.1 million female sufferers in England and Wales. It is defined as possessing a T-score of -2.5 standard deviations or lower. The main consequence of osteoporosis is an increased incidence of fractures, notably at the hip, spine, wrist and proximal humerus, which increases as a woman ages. These result not only in morbidity for the patient, with a risk of mortality following fractures of the hip, and possibly of the vertebra, but also in the consumption of scarce health resources. A recent estimate of the cost in the UK of osteoporotic fractures in females has put this figure at £2100 million. A woman who has suffered a fracture is defined as suffering from severe osteoporosis.

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Summaries for consumers

Alendronate for preventing fractures caused by osteoporosis in postmenopausal women

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of alendronate for preventing fractures (broken bones) caused by osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonates for osteoporosis in primary biliary cirrhosis

Bisphosphonates, such as etidronate, alendronate, ibandronate, are commonly used drugs for treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. This review looked at the effect of bisphosphonates for osteoporosis in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. Six randomised trials, with 200 participants included, provided information for the review. These trials compared etidronate or alendronate with placebo or no intervention; etidronate or alendronate with alendronate or ibandronate; and etidronate with sodium fluoride.

Drug‐based and non‐drug‐based interventions to improve the bone mineral density in patients living with HIV

Osteoporosis is caused by bone loss, and people who have the condition are at higher risk of having a fracture. Measuring a person's bone mass density (BMD) is a way to measure his or her risk of having a fracture due to fragile bones. Decreased BMD is much more common in HIV patients than in the general population. The cause of this decrease is not certain, but it may be because of the HIV infection itself or because of the antiretroviral medications that patients with HIV take. Although patients with HIV often get fractures because of their sometimes more fragile bones, it has been shown that this bone loss is often not effectively treated in this population. This review examines the randomised controlled trials investigating treatments for bone loss in patients with HIV infection.

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