Advice about Alendronic Acid: I am 54 and had an... - Bone Health

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Advice about Alendronic Acid

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CountryHousewife

I am 54 and had an early menopause, so after a rib fragility fracture was sent for a Dexa scan. My result is osteoporosis in the spine (t score - 2.6), osteopenia femoral neck (t score - 1.8) and left hip (t score - 1.0). My risk of major fracture within 10 years is 9.6%. I have been prescribed Alendronic Acid 70mg once a week, which I am thinking of starting this weekend. I have IBS, but have it under control. I do have a sensitive stomach. I am healthy (need to lose a stone!), good diet and some exercise, mostly walking. I am very concerned about the medicine and it's horrible side effects, but feel I have to take it. I would like to hear about some good reviews of the medicine. Also been prescribed an anti acid, and assume that can be taken half an hour after AA if needed? I am also considering a Calcium and Vitamin D supplement. Any advice would be much appreciated as feeling confused, and very scared and not sure how to proceed.

17 Replies

That medicine is study proven to just about halve your risk of future fractures in the short to medium term (beware the disastrous long term impact, though -- a med vacation is often in order around about 3-5 years, check with your doctor).

That said, I believe there's tons of things you can do to More than halve your risk of fracture without (or in combination) with taking a bone med. (Mind you: 50% reduction + 50% reduction is not 100% reduction of risk, it's more like 75% reduction of risk -- that is, self-help first and then the med, well the med's going to up your reduction from around 50% to 75% (not a huge help imo, and might give you pause for thought, considering the assorted side effects).

Self-Help?

Improve your balance/agility through balance practice and strengthening your thigh muscles (reduces your fall risk & chances of a consequent hip fracture).

Watch out for taking too much calcium (600-900 mg/day total of food + any supplements appears to be a safe sweet spot, too little or too much could contribute to osteoporosis imo). I'm a firm 'thyme' additive advocate for BMD improvement btw.

Back vertebrae appear to be reliably strengthened and protected through practicing Sinaki's study proven 'back extension' exercise once or twice a week.

POSTURE: maintain your back's 'S' curve for optimum handling of body and any added load weight (bend with the knees, not the back -- much easier if you build up your thigh muscles through a 'squats' exercise routine).

~wbic, member bonehealth forum

Thank you for your helpful reply.

I am not dismissing what wbiC has said but please bear in mind he is a male resident of Canada! Our British healthcare system is somewhat different. Ask to have another chat in person with your Doctor. I am 75 and have been taking AA for nearly two years now, somedays it affects me worse than others but with my Doctors support have come to peace with it and will continue with it for the forseeable future. Yes please do the excellent exercises available from our ROS for strength and balance. I take the good advice from the ROS above all others. Phone them and speak to one of their very well informed Nurses. They will have the most up to date info for you. Good luck to you in your journey and stay safe and happy.

Thank you for your helpful reply. Can I ask what sort of side effects you have struggled with most? Thank you

Hi, The worst side effects I have, only on the day I take my AA ,is tiredness and what I call brain fade when at times I can not even think straight and have to have a snooze! I have found that if I have a good breakfast, porridge is my friend, no sooner than an hour after my pill then get out for a walk in the fresh air that seems to help a lot. Maybe it just takes my mind off of it for a while but it seems to work for me.

Sunseaandsand gives good advice, you will read so much bad news here I am sorry to say but must always work out in a pragmatic way which path gives the best result for you. Personally, having seen my mother suffer with spinal, pelvic and hip fractures for decades before she died at 90 I am willing to take my chance with AA to avoid that fate.

Hope all this helps,keep safe,keep happy.

Thank you that helps alot and is much appreciated.

AA can be a problem if you already have stomach issues. As i say to everyone on here look up Dr steven yeh's research at UCLA re AA and also ask your doctor to check if you have hyperPARAthyroidism. Its an endocrine condition which causes your bones to continually release calcium from your bones and ingesting more calcium to correct it actually makes it worse. If left untreated it can lead to osteoporosis kidney stones or both. A small op to remove a rogue gland will reverse it. Ask your physician to do a blood test for calcium, parathyroid hormone and vit d. If calcium and parathyroid comes back high you will probably need surgery. Have a look at parathyroid.com. im not saying you have this but it needs to be ruled out........

Thank you for your help.

I would question such a big difference between your hip and spine score. Total hip score is supposed to be a more reliable measure of future fracture risk than spine score, although the fact that you've had a rib fracture does raise your fracture risk. I also thought that if your fracture risk is under 10% it was usually not considered necessary to prescribe medication, though I may be mistaken.

Having IBS does increase your chances of not tolerating AA, though it doesn't necessarily follow that you'll have problems. Just one word of warning. I have IBS and took risedronate (similar to AA) for a year. During that year my IBS gradually got worse, but it wasn't a sudden change, so I didn't connect it with the medication. I eventually stopped the risedronate due to other side effects, but as soon as I stopped my IBS settled back down, there was an almost instant noticeable improvement (with no other explanation for this), at which point I realised that the risedronate had been responsible for the gradual worsening.

Apparently the greatest risk of fracture is from falling, so if you take measures to prevent falls (make sure your home is safe, no loose rugs etc, and do lots of exercise, including for balance), you'll significantly reduce your risk of fracture without taking meds. In addition, do as much weight-bearing exercise as you can, as high impact as is safe for you, and eat a healthy diet, high calcium, magnesium and protein, low sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

Have you been checked for any underlying causes of your osteoporosis? You should have had tests to check your blood D, calcium, parathyroid and thyroid levels and to check for absorbency issues such as coeliac disease. If you haven't had these tests, don't start the AA until you've had them and got the results! It's also advised to see your dentist before starting AA and if anything invasive needs doing (eg extractions), get that done before starting the medication.

Don't worry about any delays in starting treatment, bones only change very slowly.

Thank you, I will definitely keep an eye on my IBS as it is very under control at the moment.

Hi, After having a dexa scan and been advised to start treatment for your osteoporosis it makes sense to go along with what your doctor is advising.

The important thing to consider is you need to do everything possible to protect and strengthen your bones and for some people it means more than exercise, healthy diet and vitamins.

If you have any gastro problems with taking the AA (which you well may not) then it is usual to be offered a yearly infusion.

Reading others negative experiences can easily frighten a person into making the wrong decisions regarding our health.

We really have to put things into perspective, people do not write about positive experience only negative.

I personally have had side effects from these treatments, and I am sensitive to other medications too but I am still willing to keep trying the different ones.

You say you are scared of the horrible side effects of the treatments, but look at the horrible side effects listed for over the counter pain relief, for example paracetomol.

More importantly are you scared of what it would be like if you went on to have further fractures??

I have seven all in the spine and not one of them was the result of a fall.

Osteoporosis is a terrible under recognised disease that hopefully one day a cure will be found.

I wish you all the best.

Nothing bad is going to happen to you by trying AA I hope you tolerate it well and remeber, if it upsets your stomach there are other alternatives you can try.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it is very helpful.

I an 58 and have been taking AA for about 7 months. I don’t have any nasty side effects but I do need to ensure I am well hydrated as I can get a little constipated the following day. The main thing to remember is to stay upright after taking the AA. I usually get straight into the shower as you can move around. Good luck and I hope my experience takes some anxiety away.

Hi that has helped thankyou so much.

I was also very wary about taking AA because I have IBS however I have started by taking 10mg a day and this has has caused no problems so far

They are not bad results, not in the osteoporosis range. Try the natural route first. For such a serious medicine you need to have well into the osteoporosis range. Why is AA being prescribed for people who do not even have osteoporosis?Vitamin K2 helps a lot of people. It puts the calcium out of the arteries where it does not belong and to where it is needed. Check your vitamin D and calcium in your bloods. Magnesium is another vital one.

If you are able do some weight bearing like walking.

Most important of all have a very good diet. Yoghurt, prunes, fruit and vegetables, nuts, etc.

With your results it is more possible to help yourself naturally.

Thank you for your advice, much appreciated.

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