What Are the Most Common Alendronate Side Effects?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Alendronate is a prescription medication that is used to prevent and treat a type of bone loss known as osteoporosis. Side effects are normally mild, although any persistent or bothersome symptoms that develop after taking this medication should be reported to a doctor for further medical evaluation. Some of the most common alendronate side effects include gastrointestinal disturbances, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms. More serious side effects that should be reported to a doctor immediately include chest pain, facial swelling, and difficulty breathing. Any specific questions or concerns about potential alendronate side effects should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Gastrointestinal disturbances are among the most frequently reported alendronate side effects. Symptoms may include nausea, constipation, or diarrhea, although it is not uncommon for these symptoms to alternate and change. Intestinal gas and mild to moderate abdominal discomfort are possible, although a doctor should be notified if any of these symptoms persist or become severe.

Flu-like symptoms and dizziness may sometimes occur as alendronate side effects. Sore throat, fatigue, and a stuffy or runny nose are among the potential symptoms. These side effects usually go away after a few days, once the body has had a chance to adjust to the medication.

Some alendronate side effects could signal the presence of severe complications and should be reported to a doctor immediately. These symptoms may include severe joint or muscle pain and swelling of the extremities. Blood in the stool or vomit should prompt the patient to report to the nearest emergency department. Red, peeling, or blistered skin should also be reported to a physician. Some underlying medical conditions or medications, including vitamin supplements or herbal remedies, may cause alendronate side effects to become worse, so it is important that the doctor receives a complete medical history before prescribing this drug.

Facial swelling, chest pain, and difficulty breathing may suggest the development of a severe and potentially life-threatening type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. This condition is a medical emergency, as it can prove fatal within a matter of minutes. Hospitalization may be needed for several days following this type of reaction, and supportive care, such as oxygen therapy, may be necessary. A patient who has suffered severe alendronate side effects such as anaphylaxis may be prescribed an injectible medication known as epinephrine that is carried by the patient at all times in case anaphylactic symptoms develop at a later date.

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