Advice please, been prescribed Alendronic acid.. - Bone Health

Bone Health
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Advice please, been prescribed Alendronic acid..

greyh
greyh
31 Replies

Hi, I'm a fit, active, strong 61 yr old female - in need of advice please - Xrays on pelvis after hip pain, then a bone density scan. saw doctor for result today. I already have arthritis in hands and toes and now discovered in hips. Scan showed Osteopenia -1.6 in spine and hips. Prescribed calcium + vitamin D which is good, also prescribed Alendronic acid which, having read the side effects and done some research, I'm very reluctant to take as I have a very delicate stomach. there don't seem to be any drugs available to help maintain bone density that don't have horrendous sounding side effects. I take CBD oil for hip pain and it helps greatly. I take cod liver oil and have a very green and healthy diet, loads of exercise every day. Would welcome any thoughts, the future seems a bit scarey, thanks.

31 Replies
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HeronNS

FYI I was recommended drugs when I was at -2, although I refused to take them. I was able through natural means to improve that reading (within a year) to -1.6 (your current level) whereupon they no longer recommend any drugs. It is not best practice to prescribe bone meds for the level of bone thinning called "osteopenia", and the rather randomly chosen figure where "osteoporosis" begins is -2.5, and even then there should be lots of questions asked before agreeing to medication. Especially as many manage to maintain and improve their bone density even from the osteoporosis side of the boundary!

healthunlocked.com/pmrgcauk...

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greyh
greyh
in reply to HeronNS

Thanks HeronNS -I read your post about vitamins supplements and your impressive self help. Very encouraging and I've already made another doc appointment (have to wait weeks) to discuss alternatives. Don't intend to try the AA, far too scary, particularly as future bone cracking is a possibility? Sounds too worrying to take a drug for density that then causes cracks? Quite apart from other short term horrors. Confused at the moment but your success is inspiring.

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HeronNS
HeronNS
in reply to greyh

Well reading your post I wondered why they are prescribing the meds at this stage. You would, I'd have thought, be a prime candidate for using nutrition (including a few supplements) and appropriate exercise to improve bone density. This should be the default position of the doctors anyway, not just simple pill pushing, but I suppose that's not how they are taught.

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greyh
greyh
in reply to HeronNS

Appreciate your reply so much. It takes a bit of getting used to the idea of your bone structure being compromised! I'll certainly act on your advice and discuss the exercise and supplement options with the doctor while also following your recommendations about supplements, already ordered vit K2. Self help seems to be the way. Thanks again

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HeronNS
HeronNS
in reply to greyh

I was devastated because I didn't get the numbers at first - it took a couple of months of being a squeaky wheel to finally get my hip t-score. In the meantime my doctor (who also hadn't been sent the full report and had no numbers) told me I had osteoporosis. The day I finally found out it was "only" osteopenia I quite literally felt myself getting lighter and lighter all day. It had been a terrible weight on my mind, more than I realized at the time.

(Using "osteopenia" in this context is actually an incorrect use of the word but everyone uses it. The summary my doctor received used the correct term, "low bone mass", but apparently she didn't understand it, I didn't know any better, and the recommendation for AA was included in the summary because of my risk factors.)

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greyh
greyh
in reply to HeronNS

Getting older is less and less fun! Your initial diagnosis must have sounded like a death sentence. This morning I was a bit desperate but now after some helpful comments on this website and especially your very encouraging posts, I know there are alternatives and you're certainly proof of that. Will be ringing the Osteoporosis Society tomorrow to get advice and certainly researching bone strengthening exercises and diet. For instance, I love spinach, but apparently it can inhibit calcium absorption. More info to find! Thanks again and I very much hope you're maintaining your health and strength - you sound so positive and strong. I guess regular scans are vital to make sure.

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HeronNS
HeronNS
in reply to greyh

Had the first two scans a year apart and the next one I should be able to get later this year, although I may wait a bit longer (they said three to five years after the second one). Bones change slowly and system resources are limited, so I think after the benchmark and a followup (as I had) in a reasonable amount of time you can go from there. Because things improved well in that first year I've felt comfortable with the wait. If it hadn't been quite so positive I might have pushed for an earlier scan.

The biggest risk for fractures is falling, not bone density. As you have been active you are probably ahead of the game right there!

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greyh
greyh
in reply to HeronNS

Wish you the best of luck and a good result when you opt to have your next scan.

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Siamang

I was told to do weights, exercise and calcium when got similiar result! My following dexa score showed further improvement. After 20 years of monitoring have just gone into osteoporotic range at -2.6. Given 1 prolia injection but need dental work and feel so anxious re medication I’m going back to supplements and weights! Dr agreed and will review in 2 years.

I certainly wouldn’t feel happy taking medication with a -1.6 T score.

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Met00

Unless you've had a fragility fracture, -1.6 is not osteoporosis and I'm puzzled why your GP would even consider medication. Because I hadn't had a fragility fracture, I was given the choice of meds or not with a t-score of -3.2, which is a score well into the osteoporosis range.

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Savbing

I am also surprised. What was your FRAX score? I have not found AA too bad. I seem to have varying side effects. Flu like symptoms, sinus pain or sore throat, some bone aches. All tolerable.

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MiaLee

Research the drugs carefully. Don’t get on that wagon train until you are aware of all of the controversies surrounding the scans ( made up arbitrarily by Merck, ) the controversy around even if low density is any indication at all of predicting fractures, the making up of a ‘disease’ called ‘osteopenia’, and the intensive campaign to get as many menopausal women as possible as life long drug customers. The side effects are horrific and downplayed. Doctors know nothing about these drugs except what Big Pharma tells them. A fracture is NOT a ‘fragility fracture’ if it results from impact etc. Fragility fractures are spontaneous breaks. I refused the bone scans I was offered after breaking my foot ( impact), I nourish my body and my bones, and I get plenty of exercise.

Research some of the posts on this board regarding the controversy about the drugs, the scans, and natural means of supporting your bones and health. Click on my username and you can see some of my research posts on all of this. Best of luck.

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greyh
greyh
in reply to MiaLee

Absolutely true - extremely scary. Will check out your research -thank you for making it available to us all.

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HeronNS

Very interesting and disturbing post by Gillymar today, entitled Dreaded AA again!

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sweetsusie

You're very right...greyh...there are no drugs that are good for bone loss in my humble opinion. I took fosamax and after taking the 2nd pill and ended up not being able to swallow..will NEVER EVER take any of these horrible bone meds again...Like you..I researched most of them..no way would I take the chance..you're better off with osteopenia.....

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greyh
greyh
in reply to sweetsusie

The more posts I read the more I'm determined not to go down the 'drug' route, too risky by far, exercise, vitamins and loads of research will be the way - taking onboard all the kind and knowledgeable words on this site

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sweetsusie
sweetsusie
in reply to greyh

Yes...stay strong.....my doctor put me in HRT (hormone replacement therapy) FINALLY!!! I had to ask over and over and over...finally wore him down, because I'm 70, but I think I'll be fine..lowest dose possible and it will help my bones...the big study that was done about HRT is so flawed..it scared most women (including me!) off of HRT for years.

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greyh
greyh
in reply to sweetsusie

A couple of years ago, before I'd developed any hip trouble and had the Xrays, one doctor suggested that HRT might be a good idea, at that time I was very reluctant because of the usual scare (and comfort) reasons. May I ask, how long have you been taking HRT and how do you find it - any uncomfortable side-effects? Seriously considering it might now be an option for bone strengthening.

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sweetsusie
sweetsusie
in reply to greyh

I've been on it for about a year now...no side effects whatsoever...a little more energy and mood lift (which is nice...). Boobs were a big tender when I first started it, but that's pretty normal. My insurance doesn't cover the patches, which is what I would've preferred, but I take estradiol norethinedrone combo..lowest dose hoping to help my bones. I was reluctant to take them, too, greyh, but I felt the risk (which is overblown) was much less than those crazy bone meds. I wish I could talk every person into stopping them, but once you're on them, it's near impossible to go off, due to rebound fractures. Good luck...hope your doctor is open minded and will allow you to try HRT. Keep me posted!

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greyh
greyh
in reply to sweetsusie

Hi Sweetsusie, thank you so much for that, I'm most definitely thinking about the HRT route, will not be touching bone meds. Happily at my doctors practice there are 2 reasonable/persuadable docs there -actually getting an appointment is a challenge in itself!! Will let you know success or otherwise. :)

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sweetsusie
sweetsusie
in reply to greyh

So glad to hear that you have doctors who have ears for most of them do not. Mine has ears, too!

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greyh
greyh
in reply to sweetsusie

Having seen a selection of the doctors at our local practice over the years, I've discovered a couple of patronising/selectively deaf ones who I can now avoid!!

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Fran57

Hello. I am 61 also and, after I fell and fractured my pelvis ( first time I had broken a bone!) I was told I had osteoporosis and was prescribed Alendronic Acid. I wasn’t happy to take it without research - so glad I did!

I found that we should check our parathyroid hormone levels... to cut a long story short, I found mine were elevated and I had a small benign tumour on one of my parathyroid glands ( nothing to do with thyroid). It is really quite common but people don’t know about it. I had it removed ( my first ever operation!) and the surgeon said that the medication would have no effect on my bones because of the hyperparathyroidism! I have to wait a couple more years before I get another Dexa scan to see if there is any improvement ( plus I eat well and walk a lot). My parathyroid hormone levels were normal, as were my calcium levels, within minutes of the operation.

You may not have this, of course, but please get checked.

Kind regards,

Fran 😉 ( UK)

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greyh
greyh
in reply to Fran57

Wow - many thanks for making that known -I'll certainly check on Parathyroid trouble -never heard of that. Thank you for info, wishing you good health.

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Fran57

Good luck - keep in touch x

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Sueleen13

Could I ask if you are on HRT, my bone density seems to have improved since taking it. What are others thinking about taking HRT for bone health

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greyh
greyh
in reply to Sueleen13

Thank you for your reply - amazing timing - I'm not on HRT but had a chat with my doctor this morning about not taking AA and would HRT be beneficial!! She warned of the cancer risk side effects and I feel that as an individual she was against taking it. I'll be paying for another bone density scan next year to see if the calcium and vit D tablets are having any active effects and in the mean time have decided just to increase bone strengthening exercises and I've started on Vit K2 (M-7) as well. If my bone density remains the same (or improves) then fine, will keep having yearly scans, if it's decreased, will have to consider more actions. Great that your bone density has increased - do you mind saying how long since you started taking HRT ? interested to know how many years it takes to improve the bone density readings.

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Sueleen13
Sueleen13
in reply to greyh

Hi and thank you for replying to me. I was diagnosed with osteopenia before I started the HRT and I to was offered AA but I didn’t take it. However the reason I started HRT was because of unbearable night sweats and soon realised that it had the benefit of increasing bone density. I only take a small amount of Vit D & calcium in my multi vitamin and still my bone density had increased. I’ve been on HRT 3 years now so I won’t know if it’s still having the same effect for another 18 months or so as I have them every 3 years. My GP was I initially against HRT but I asked to see a specialist who overturned the decision and I’ve been taking it ever since ...I do Pilates and Yoga, walking and I just hope for the best. Btw I’m 60 soon, I had a late menopause ...

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Justme13
Justme13
in reply to Sueleen13

What age was your menopause? I was 57. Don’t know if will be allowed hrt, as 63. Terrible sweats and bad bmd.

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Sueleen13

I think I was 56. As I mentioned my GP didn’t recommend hrt for me so I sought a second opinion who said yes. I have the gel in the morning and a tablet at night. Yes terrible night sweats to the point where I couldn’t stand it

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auntiesally

I take alendronic acid once a week, make sure you follow the instructions when taking it, especially drink the water and do not lie down, remember this is an acid based tablet.

The only side effect I have expeirenced is a slight feeling of sickness, which doesnt last long, sometimes you can read to much, try them and if not suitable for you, see your gp and explain about your delicate stomach. Hope you find a solution.

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