Why is Actonel prescribed?
Actonel is in a class of drugs called bisphosphonates that are used to treat and prevent osteoporosis (bone weakening) in postmenopausal women.
Actonel is also taken by men and women who are starting or continuing to take medications such as prednisone that may cause osteoporosis. It is also used to treat Paget's disease.
Risedronate is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should Actonel be used?
Actonel comes as a tablet to take by mouth once a day. It is important to take Actonel 30 minutes or more before the first food or drink of the day other than water. Take Actonel in an upright position (sitting or standing) with a full glass of plain water (6 to 8 ounces). Do not take Actonel with mineral water, coffee, orange juice, milk, or other dairy products. Wait at least 30 minutes after taking Actonel before you eat, drink, or take other medications. Do not suck or chew the tablet; swallow the tablet whole. Do not lie down for 30 minutes after taking Actonel. Standing or sitting upright helps you get the full dose and decreases heartburn and the risk of injury to your esophagus. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Risedronate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Actonel helps treat and prevent osteoporosis and Paget's disease but does not cure them. Continue to take Actonel even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Actonel without talking to your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking Actonel,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Actonel, alendronate (Fosamax), etidronate (Didronel), pamidronate (Aredia), tiludronate (Skelid), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antacids; calcium supplements; products containing magnesium, aluminum, or minerals; and herbal products or vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease; problems or abnormalities with your esophagus; upper gastrointestinal disease such as ulcers, gastritis, heartburn, chronic stomach problems, or duodenitis; below-normal calcium levels in your blood; or if your are unable to stand or sit upright for 30 minutes.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Actonel, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking Actonel
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you have not already had the first food or first drink of the day (other than water), take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If you have already eaten or drank, skip the missed dose. Continue your usual schedule the next day.
What side effects can Actonel cause?
Although side effects from risedronate are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- gas (flatulence)
- bone or joint pain
- leg cramps
- acid regurgitation (reflux)
- stomach pain or irritation
- sinus infection
- dry eyes
- changes in vision
- ringing in the ears
- back pain
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- flu-like symptoms
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty or pain swallowing
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- swelling of the face or neck
- severe, worsening, or continued heartburn or chest pain
- broken bones
What storage conditions are needed for Actonel?
Keep Risedronate in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Talk to your doctor about possible exercises and changing certain behaviors such as smoking or alcohol consumption that may improve the effectiveness of your treatment.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.