Bisphosphonates are the Most Commonly Prescribed
Bisphosphonates are the most commonly prescribed Antiresorptive medications used to prevent or treat Ostoeporosis. We know them as Fosamax (Alendronate), Boniva (Ibandronate), Actonel (Risendronate), Atelvia (enteric coated Risendronate), and IV Reclast (Zolendronate). All but the last are pills taken weekly or monthly.
If your bone is strong enough that preserving it is sufficient to prevent fractures, then Antiresorptive medication is what you need. If you are able to follow the protocol of taking the pill on an empty stomach, followed by one or more full glasses of plain water, and eating or drinking nothing else for at least 30 minutes (60 for Boniva) while remaining upright, Oral Bisphosphonates are the medication for you.
However, Oral Bisphosphonates are not for everyone. Heartburn and reflux disease (GERD) are common side-effects of oral bisphonates. Mild cases are often controled with medications for GERD. Severe or pre-existing GERD, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and Crohn’s are all reasons to try something else.
Reclast is an IV infusion taken once a year. IV means there are no gastro-intestinal issues with Reclast. However, there can be other issues.
Atelvia is enteric coated and can be taken with food. This should prevent heartburn and reflux disease, but there are no published studies confirming that.
Bisphosphonates can preserve your bones and prevent fractures, if you tolerate them. More in future posts.
Jay Ginther, MD