Risedronate (By mouth)
Prevents or treats osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) in women after menopause and treats osteoporosis in men. This medicine is also used to treat Paget disease and osteoporosis caused by steroid treatment.
Actonel, Actonel with Calcium, Atelvia
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to risedronate, or if you have certain esophagus problems, very low calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia), or severe kidney disease. Do not use this medicine if you are unable to sit upright or stand for at least 30 minutes after you take the medicine.
How to Use This Medicine
Tablet, Delayed Release Tablet
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Follow your doctor's instructions if you need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
- If any of this medicine stays in your esophagus, it may cause serious damage. To lower the risk of this problem, take your medicine exactly as directed below.
- Delayed-release tablet:
- Take the delayed-release tablet once a week. Choose a day of the week that best fits your activity schedule and will be easy for you to remember.
- Take the delayed-release tablet in the morning right after breakfast.
- Swallow the tablet whole with at least 4 ounces of plain water. Do not crush, chew, or cut it.
- Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after you take this medicine.
- Regular-release tablet:
- You will be told to take the regular-release tablet either once a day, once a week, once a month, or 2 days in a row each month.
- If you take your tablet once a week, once a month, or 2 days in a row each month, choose days that best fit your activity schedule and will be easy for you to remember.
- Take the regular-release tablet as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, before you eat or have anything to drink.
- Swallow the tablet whole with a large glass (8 ounces) of plain water only (not mineral water, coffee, tea, soda, juice, or any other liquid). Do not chew or suck on the tablet.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after you swallow the tablet before you eat or drink anything or take any other medicines. This will help your body absorb the medicine.
- Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after you take this medicine.
If a dose is missed:
- Delayed-release tablets taken once a week: If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine in the morning, take it the next morning after you remember. Do not take 2 tablets on the same day. Return to your regular schedule the following week.
- Regular-release tablets taken once a day: If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine in the morning, take it the next morning after you remember. Do not take 2 tablets on the same day. Return to your regular schedule the next day.
- Regular-release tablets taken once a week: If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine in the morning, take it the next morning after you remember. Return to your regular schedule the following week.
- Regular-release tablets taken once a month:
- If next month's scheduled dose is more than 7 days away: If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine in the morning, take it the next morning after you remember. Return to your regular schedule the following month. Do not take more than 1 tablet within 7 days.
- If next month's scheduled dose is 1 to 7 days away: Wait until your next regularly-scheduled dose and take the tablet on the scheduled day. Return to your regular schedule the following month. Do not take more than 1 tablet within 7 days.
- Regular-release tablets taken 2 days in a row each month:
- If next month's scheduled doses are more than 7 days away: If you missed 2 doses, take 1 tablet the next morning after you remember. Take the second tablet on the following morning. If you missed only 1 dose, take the missed tablet the next morning after you remember. Return to your regular schedule the following month. Do not take more than 2 tablets within 7 days.
- If next month's scheduled doses are 1 to 7 days away: Wait until your next regularly-scheduled dose and take the tablets on the scheduled days. Return to your regular schedule the following month. Do not take more than 2 tablets within 7 days.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicine that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment. Tell your doctor if you are also using a stomach medicine (such as cimetidine, esomeprazole, famotidine, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole, ranitidine, Aciphex®, Dexilant®, Nexium®, Pepcid®, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Tagamet®, Zantac®) or NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®).
- Wait at least 30 minutes after you take risedronate before you take calcium or mineral supplements, iron supplements, magnesium-containing supplements or laxatives, or antacids that contain aluminum, magnesium, or calcium (such as Maalox®, Mylanta®, Tums®).
- This medicine may interact with the dye used for bone scans.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, stomach ulcers, heartburn, trouble swallowing, or any other stomach or bowel problems. Tell your doctor if you have low blood calcium, a mineral imbalance, or trouble absorbing minerals in your stomach (malabsorption syndrome). Also tell your doctor if you smoke or drink alcohol.
- This medicine can irritate your esophagus. Call your doctor if you have heartburn (either new or worse than usual), pain when swallowing, pain in the center of your chest, trouble swallowing, or a feeling that food gets stuck on the way to your stomach.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine could cause jaw problems, especially if you have a tooth pulled or have other dental work. Tell your doctor or dentist if you develop pain, swelling, or other problems in your mouth or jaw. Make sure your doctor knows about dental problems that you already have or if you wear dentures. Also tell your doctor if you have cancer, anemia, or blood clotting problems, because you could be more likely to develop jaw problems.
- Tell your doctor if you have severe bone, joint, or muscle pain while using this medicine.
- This medicine could lower the amount of calcium in your blood. Call your doctor right away if you develop any signs of low calcium levels, such as muscle spasms or twitching, or numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, or lips.
- This medicine may increase your risk of breaking a thigh bone. This may be more common if you use it for a long time. Check with your doctor right away if you have a dull or aching pain in the thighs, groin, or hips.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Blistering, peeling, itchy skin rash
- Blurred vision, eye pain or redness
- Chest pain, heartburn, or burning in your throat
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
- Heavy feeling in the jaw, loose teeth or other teeth problems
- Pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth or jaw
- Severe bone, joint, or muscle pain
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
- Unusual or severe stomach pain
- Unusual pain in your thigh, groin, or hip
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Back pain, neck pain, or joint pain
- Mild nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain or upset
- Mild skin rash
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013