Alendronic acid

Alendronate is a medication prescribed to treat osteoporosis, often for post-menopausal women. It is manufactured by APL Swift.

If you’re concerned about osteoporosis, our registered clinicians can provide advice about getting a diagnosis and what treatments are available. Book an appointment below to speak to a doctor online about osteoporosis.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.
Product information

Alendronate is a non-hormonal treatment for osteoporosis, a bone weakening condition that often occurs in post-menopause or as we age. It is available in different strengths, from 5mg to 70mg. The dosage you take will depend on a number of factors, including how long you’ve had osteoporosis and how far along bone loss is.

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bone begins to thin or degrade over time, which can lead to a higher possibility of breaks and fractures. There are several possible causes. For some, it simply comes with age. In others, low levels of certain hormones, such as thyroid and adrenal hormones, can be a cause. The menopause is one of the most common causes of osteoporosis. 

Your likelihood of getting the condition will depend on bone density, which increases during childhood but begins to diminish from the age of 35. Low calcium over a long period of time can be a major factor in the cause of osteoporosis. Another major cause can be medication, such as corticosteroids (as these alter the hormonal balance in the body). Conditions such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus are all examples of conditions that can have osteoporosis as a secondary complication. 

Symptoms, other than brittle bones, can include back pain and a stooped spine that results in a loss of height.

A bone density test will be required to diagnose osteoporosis. The test is painless and only involves a low-level x-ray where you simply lie on your back as the scanner passes over you. 

Treatment will likely depend on the severity of your symptoms and the likely cause of the condition. Medication may not be required if your bone density is only slightly reduced, with lifestyle changes and risk factors assessed for certain activities. You might be given a calcium and vitamin D supplement to help offset further loss. If your bone loss is quite advanced, other treatments might include hormone replacements or bone building medications.

Alendronate, also known as alendronate acid, belongs to a group of drugs called bisphosphonates. These are non-hormonal treatments that are often prescribed to prevent the loss of further bone density after menopause. It works by slowing down the production of cells that break down bone, known as osteoblasts, which gives the body time to repair and strengthen the existing bone. At the very least, it will help prevent the bone from further thinning, reducing the risk of breaks and fractures.

You can make an appointment to talk to a clinician online about osteoporosis. Our secure video consultation makes it easy to get advice and treatment online.

Page last reviewed:  29/01/2020

[Coming soon]

Page last reviewed:  29/01/2020
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Alendronate 70mg

Side effects

[Coming soon]

Page last reviewed:  29/01/2020
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Alendronate 70mg


Can I consume alcohol while taking Alendronate?

Alcohol might increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects from Alendronate. As such, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor if you plan on drinking alcohol during treatment.

Should I take it with food?

Alendronate’s effectiveness can be reduced when taken with food. In fact, you should only swallow it whole with tap water as mineral water may also affect the body’s ability to absorb its active ingredient. It is therefore often recommended that you take it in the morning before breakfast. 

Is it suitable to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?

As it is usually prescribed after the effects of the menopause, it is unlikely that this will be an issue. However, if you believe you are pregnant, you should inform your doctor so they can advise you on what to do.

How should it be stored?

Alendronate should always be kept out of reach of children.  

Is it available over the counter?

No, in order to receive treatment with Alendronate you will need a prescription. 

How can I buy Alendronate online?

If you have received a prescription for Alendronate before, one of our GMC-registered doctors or pharmacy prescribers may be able to provide a repeat one. Book an appointment to get started with a consultation.

If our prescriber offers treatment, you’ll have the option to have your prescription dispensed at our GPhC pharmacy and shipped to you by next-day courier. Or you can have your e-prescription sent to a local pharmacy, for you to pick up in person.

Page last reviewed:  29/01/2020
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