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What Is Risedronate Sodium?

A doctor may prescribe risedronate sodium to an osteoporosis patient.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Risedronate sodium is a medication patients can take to increase bone density and prevent breakdown of bone over time. A doctor may prescribe it to a patient with osteoporosis, and it can also be part of the treatment for Paget's disease of bone. This medication is usually kept in stock at a pharmacy, allowing patients to quickly fill prescriptions, and it can be taken in a number of different ways. It is important to follow the dosing instructions to get the most out of risedronate sodium, as the medication will be less useful if not taken on a regular schedule.

This medication interferes with the resorption of bone, slowing the rate of bone breakdown. Patients can take a tablet daily or once a week, with the weekly dose being higher. Risedronate sodium is not recommended in patients with low blood calcium, as the slowdown of bone breakdown will result in even less available calcium for the body. It may be necessary to take calcium or vitamin D supplements while on the medication to make sure the body has enough nutrition.

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Food can interfere with the metabolism of risedronate sodium, and it is a good idea to take the medication while fasting, such as first thing in the morning, around half an hour before breakfast. Dietary supplements like calcium can also conflict and should be taken at different times. A doctor may have specific recommendations if there are concerns about drug interactions in a patient who takes several medications to manage health conditions.

Common risedronate sodium side effects include headaches, rises in blood pressure, and falls in blood calcium. Patients on this medication may need to have a test periodically to check on their bone density and to see what kinds of mineral concentrations are present in the blood. If the patient reacts poorly to the medication, the dosage can be adjusted. Patients can also be prone to developing ulcers of the esophagus and throat while taking risedronate sodium; standing in an upright position to take the drug and swallowing it with plenty of water can help with this problem.

If risedronate sodium is not suitable for a patient, other medications to improve bone density are available. The doctor can prescribe an alternative and see if the medication meets the needs of the patient. Patients may also combine their medication with activities like swimming and gentle exercise to build up bone mass and muscle strength, useful for preventing fractures.

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