Fosamax (alendronate) is a brand-name prescription medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to:
- treat osteoporosis in males*
- prevent and treat osteoporosis in females* who’ve gone through menopause
- treat osteoporosis caused by taking a type of medication called glucocorticoids, such Rayos (prednisone)
- treat Paget’s disease of bone
Fosamax comes as an oral tablet. It belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. Fosamax is also available in a generic form called alendronate.
If Fosamax works for you, your doctor will likely recommend that you take it long-term.
* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “males” and “females” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
The following chart summarizes Fosamax’s dosage. Your doctor will determine the dosage that’s best for you.
|Form||Strength||Typical dosage for treating osteoporosis|
|oral tablet||70 milligrams (mg)||70 mg once per week|
It’s important to note that the brand-name version of Fosamax is only available in a tablet that contains 70 mg of alendronate (the active drug in Fosamax). However, to treat males* with osteoporosis, osteoporosis caused by glucocorticoid use, or Paget’s disease, the dose of Fosamax will be different. So, in these cases, the generic form of Fosamax, alendronate, will need to be used instead. Alendronate is available in different forms and strengths than Fosamax. For more information, see the “Fosamax dosage” section below.
For information about the dosage and administration of Fosamax, including its strength and how to take the drug, keep reading. For a comprehensive look at Fosamax, see this article.
* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “males” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
Before you start treatment with Fosamax, talk with your doctor about the best dose for you.
Fosamax comes as an oral tablet.
In addition, the generic form of Fosamax, alendronate, also comes as an oral tablet or a liquid solution.
Fosamax is available in one strength: 70 milligrams (mg).
However, the generic form of Fosamax, alendronate, comes in the following strengths:
- 5 mg
- 10 mg
- 35 mg
- 40 mg
- 70 mg
In addition, alendronate also comes in an oral solution that has 70 mg of drug in 75 milliliters (mL) of solution.
In some cases, based on your dose of Fosamax, you may need to take the generic form of Fosamax.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to follow the dosage instructions your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosing schedule to fit your needs.
Note: Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “males” and “females” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
Fosamax dosage for treating osteoporosis
The generic form of Fosamax, alendronate, is available in an oral solution that has 70 mg of alendronate in 75 mL of solution. So, if you’d prefer to take the liquid form of alendronate, this is another treatment option.
You may also be able to take a dose of 10 mg of Fosamax once daily, instead of a weekly dose. However, the brand-name Fosamax isn’t available in a strength of 10 mg. So, if you decide you’d rather take a daily dose of Fosamax, you’ll need to take the generic form of the drug called alendronate.
Fosamax dosage for preventing osteoporosis
Fosamax is also approved to prevent osteoporosis in females who’ve gone through menopause. In this case, you’ll need to take the generic form of Fosamax, alendronate. This is because Fosamax only comes in 70 mg tablets, while alendronate tablets come in smaller doses.
Your dose of alendronate to prevent osteoporosis is either 35 mg once per week or 5 mg once per day.
Fosamax dosage for glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis
To treat osteoporosis that’s caused by taking glucocorticoids, such Rayos (prednisone). For this purpose, you’ll need to take the generic form of Fosamax, alendronate. This is because Fosamax only comes in 70 mg tablets, while alendronate tablets come in smaller doses.
The recommended dosage of Fosamax to treat osteoporosis that’s due to glucocorticoid use is 5 mg per day. However, if you’re also taking estrogen, your doctor will likely recommend that you take a dose of 10 mg of alendronate once per day.
Fosamax dosage for treating Paget’s disease of bone
Fosamax is approved to treat Paget’s disease of bone. For this use, you’ll need to take the generic form of Fosamax, called alendronate. This is because the brand-name form of the drug only comes in 70 mg tablets.
The recommended dosage of alendronate for Paget’s disease of bone is 40 mg once per day for 6 months.
Your doctor will likely re-evaluate you 6 months after you complete your dosing of Fosamax. In some cases, they may recommend that you take another 6 months of treatment after this.
Fosamax is typically meant to be a long-term treatment. If you take this medication to treat or prevent osteoporosis, you’ll likely take the drug long-term. However, if you take Fosamax for Paget’s disease of bone, you’ll only need to take the drug for 6 months.
In some cases, it’s possible that you may need a second treatment of Fosamax to treat Paget’s disease of bone. So, you may take the drug for 6 months, have a 6 month break, and take the drug again for another 6 months. Your doctor will be able to help determine how long you should take Fosamax based on your condition.
Fosamax or alendronate should be taken in the morning right after you wake up for the day. If you take alendronate once per day and miss your dose in the morning, skip that dose and take your next scheduled dose the next morning. Do not take two doses in the same day to try to make up for a missed dose.
If you’ve missed a weekly dose of Fosamax, take your weekly dose on the next morning when you wake up. You can then return to your normal schedule. For example, if you usually take Fosamax once weekly on Wednesdays, but you miss your dose, take it Thursday morning instead. Then, continue on with your regular Wednesday dosing the following week.
If you missed your Fosamax or alendronate dose and you’re not sure when to take your next dose, call your doctor or pharmacist. They can help you determine when to take your next dose of medication.
The Fosamax dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type of the condition you’re using Fosamax to treat
- other medications that you take
Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Fosamax dosage.
However, there’s no renal (kidney) dosing or hepatic (liver) dosing recommended for Fosamax. So, your doctor can help determine if it may be safe for you to take Fosamax. However, if they recommend that you take Fosamax, there isn’t a dose adjustment for people with kidney or liver problems.
Fosamax and alendronate have specific instructions on how to take your dose of medication. You should take your dose of Fosamax or alendronate when you wake up in the morning, at least 30 minutes before your first food, drink, or other medications of the day.
Be sure to take your dose of Fosamax or alendronate with plain water only. Swallow the tablet with a full glass of 6 to 8 ounces of water.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
In some cases, your doctor may be able to recommend that you take the oral solution form of alendronate. If you’re taking the oral solution form, drink at least 2 ounces of water after taking your dose.
You should not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking your dose of Fosamax or alendronate. You should also not lie down until after you’ve eaten.
Be sure that you take your dose of Fosamax or alendronate in the morning when you first wake up. Do not take your dose at bedtime or before you get up in the morning.
ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS
If you’re having trouble reading your prescription label, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.
If you’re having trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist about putting Fosamax in an easy-open container. They also may recommend tools that can make it easier to open bottles.
If you use more Fosamax than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects.
It’s important that you don’t use more Fosamax than your doctor advises.
Symptoms of an overdose
Overdose symptoms of Fosamax can include:
- low blood calcium or phosphate levels
- upset stomach
- irritation or swelling of your stomach or esophagus
- an ulcer in your esophagus or stomach
If you take more than the recommended amount of Fosamax
Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Fosamax. Another option is to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Fosamax for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.
As with any drug, never change your dosage of Fosamax without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Fosamax that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.
Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Fosamax. These additional articles might be helpful to you:
- More about Fosamax. For information about other aspects of Fosamax, refer to this article.
- Drug comparison. Find out how Fosamax compares with Prolia and Boniva.
- Details about your condition. For details about osteoporosis, see our osteoporosis articles. To learn about bone health, you can view this list of articles.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.