Actonel (risedronate) is a biphosphonate medicine used to treat and prevent thinning of the bones (called osteoporosis), a condition called Paget’s disesase, and other diseases where loss of bone mass is a concern. Biphosphonates are a class of medicines that all work in a similar way to help the bones.
Actonel is available in oral tablet form. It can be taken once a day as a 5 mg tablet, once a week as a 35 mg tablet, and once a month as a 150 mg tablet. Doctors will choose the best option depending on their patients’ needs.
Actonel should be taken first thing in the morning. People should not lie down after taking this medicine.
Actonel should be taken on an empty stomach. Patients should wait at least 1 hour before taking any other medication, or eating or drinking anything other than clean water (no coffee, juice, or tea). It is recommended that patients drink a full glass of water while taking their tablet.
To help build the bones, patients should take calcium and vitamin D supplements while taking Actonel. Doctors will tell their patients the right amount of calcium and vitamin D to take.
Important Tests and Risks
Doctors need to monitor the response of patients taking Actonel. This is done with a Bone Mineral Density test, usually once every 1 to 3 years.
Biphosphonate medicines like Actonel have been associated with a very rare problem with the jaw called osteonecrosis. This problem is sometimes seen after dental work. People taking Actonel should let their doctor know if they develop sudden pain in the jaw.
Alcohol is known to increase fracture risk by decreasing bone mineral density and promoting osteoporosis. Patients who are prescribed Actonel should stop drinking alcohol, or at least reduce the amount of alcohol that they drink.