British Lung Foundation
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Alendronic - how important?

I was prescribed Alendronic recently to take in conjunction with steroids. I also take ACDAL (Calcium). I am a whimp when it comes to taking medication. So when reading all possible side-effects, plus the fact that I am allergic to Aspirin (which seems to be a problem with Alendronic), it seems that it may not be suitable for me.

I will see my GP about alternatives, but wondered if anyone here knows if NOT taking this kind of medication is really putting myself at risk of Osteoporisis due to taking steroids long term, and would ACDAL be enough??

Jean :-)

13 Replies

I think its a personal choice thing Jean. Medical professionals will want you to take it to protect your bones*. Some know for sure it works. Some can't tolerate it. Lots on the NOS site take it. I decided I wouldn't tolerate it and don't take it. But I think you have to consider what you will do to help maintain bone density if you opt not to take it.

I have upped my exercise (needs weight bearing exercise, resistant training also good), I try to eat kale as often as possible its good for bones, lungs, cardiac and the bod in general, always eat plenty of calcium in the diet. I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency too which affects the absorption of calcium so a vitamin D3 supplement should be taken with calcium, I take mine after breakfast milk and yoghurt on cereal . I occasional take calcichew but not regularly as I feel my diet has adequate calcium.

I vaguely recall my doctor saying that calcium supplement may be phased out, I think info on NOS site about it:

Its all down to you Jean, what I do and what may be enough for me, may not be the same for you.

Exercise essentially is good for bone health, lung health and cardiac health, as is eating a good diet. Many with osteoporosis do this as well as take the drug therapy.

Also I don't take oral steroids regularly only the inhaled kind. If you take oral steroids regularly your considerations about protecting your bones may need to be greater.

*assuming you have been prescribed alendronic acid by a medical professional as a result of osteoporosis being diagnosed by dexa scan.


Very important. If you are on alendronic acid and adcal it sounds as if you may already have osteoporosis. It is so easy to think you don't need them for you don't feel any different for taking them or any worse if you don't but they help avoid the painful crush fractures you can get so it is worth sticking with it. Incidentally I am allergic to aspirin but have no problems with alendronic and have been on it for 14 years.


I agree with antan. If you're on these meds you probably have osteoporosis. Have you had your bone density scan? if so ask for a copy of the results. I couldn't tolerate those meds i'm on an injection every 6 months. Do you have a osteoporosis nurse at your local hospital? if not you can phone the National Osteoporosis Society and ask to speak to one of their trained nurses, they really know their stuff. Exercise and diet are very important.


Thanks for the advice. I don't have osteoporosis, merely prescribed Alendronic as a prevention due to taking high dose steroids for long term - it's part of the process to help avoid getting it. Will bare all advice in mind though. Thanks :-)


These meds are a nuisance. I have no trouble with takin my regulars, but the once a week aledronic plus the chewable tabs. I am a borderline osteo, and wonder if it can go into reverse and improve.


Jean to Jean - G'morning :)

Its important to be aware if you have a hiatus hernia and pre-existing reflux in order to decide whether or not to take Alendronic acid. There may be differing medical opinions on whether this happens a lot, but I was prescribed Fosomax (alendronic) for osteopenia - you may not necessarily have osteoporosis yet - and even though i was careful to stay upright for half an hour after taking it, it exacerbated my reflux to the point where i now have Barretts Oesophagus, a pre-cancerous condition where the stomach lining grows up into the gullet. I have to have regular endoscopies to check it which is not fun.

My dentist is also considering whether the pain i have in my jaw could be related to taking it.

I wouldnt touch it with a bargepole now and will take my chances with the osteopenia using exercise, fish oil, Vit D and magnesium supplements to keep it in check.

But we all have different medical situations to consider, so this is NOT advice to you, just what I have decided to do for myself.

You need to know your own situation, so suggestions above to call Nat Osteoporosis nurse and get a bone density scan are crucial. Good luck!


Much appreciated 02. I will discuss with my GP - really don't like taking all these meds, but will take what I need to, or like you - find alternatives and other supplements. I've gone from fit and healthy and no pills (apart from those for headache etc), to being seriously ill in the last 2 years and being pumped with pills etc... could be worse!! :-) Will also ask about bone density scan. Thanks again


I would disagree with antan and mustcarryon - sorry. Just because you are on Adcal and Alendronic this does not mean you have osteoporosis. I was on steroids for a long time and took both. I had a dexa scan half way through my treatment and my bone density is absolutely fine, another mroe recent one also showed no change. They are there to prevent osteporosis or if you have it any further decline. I think you can be given a monthly injection/tablet thats not alendronic acid but given your concerns I would speak to your GP/Consultant. I find it odd that you would be prescribed a drug that you were eseentially 'allergic' to in the first place


Thanks Marie. Yes, I am taking purely as a 'preventative' in conjunction with the long-term steroid treatment. I might consider the monthly injection. I doubt my GP realised that those allergic to Aspirin shouldn't take Alendronic - he will when I tell him!!! Thanks again :-)


Hi! My husband has severe osteoporosis and at one point had to give himself injections in his tummy. He has taken Adcal and Alendronic acid for a long time now. Last time he was tested they told him the osteoporosis is still getting worse. However he has not had any trouble with it so far. They found he had osteoporosis four years ago when he had a crushed vertebrae. What he didn't know was that one had already gone at some point before. I wonder if the Alendronic has stopped them from breaking since, in the last four years. If they are recommending you take it there must be a good reason for it. Hope this helps.


Thanks for the advice Mavary. It helps with my considerations. :-)


Hi all.

I have just returned from my gp to be told I have osteoporosis.(through dexa scan 3 weeks ago).

I have been given alendronic acid and ad cal d3 tabs.

I hate taking new medication,get very apprehensive about the side effects.

Any advice please?


This is very interesting,when first prescribed Alendronic Acid I read the leaflet and thought one would have to be insane to take it,the side effects were monstrous.I was talking to gp about stopping carbocistine(I think) as it did,nt work and mentioned I had not started the Alendronic.She was very definite"does,nt matter about the other stuff but you MUST take the Alendronic" I started it and have had no problems at all.I,m am also waiting for appointment for bone density tests.I find it odd how some doctors think steroids are the gift of life and others think they,re the curse of modern life.I don,t want talcum powder for bones so I,ll stick with the Alendronic until I hear of something better.Good luck Jayenne,it,s not being a wimp to care about what goes into your body ,it,s being sensible stay well!D.



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