Alendronic Acid and Gaviscon: Another newbie... - Bone Health

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Alendronic Acid and Gaviscon

Mo51 profile image
Mo51

Another newbie question. Had some bad gastro side effects from my first dose of Alendronic acid last week. Am going to persevere for a few more weeks to see if this settles. Meanwhile a nurse at my GP surgery suggested I try Gaviscon or Omprazole later in the day after taking my tablet. Has anyone successfully tried this? Does it reduce the effectiveness of the AA? Once again, thanks for the help and support.

29 Replies

Omeprazole is a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) which has been shown to increase fracture risk, so would rather negate any potential benefit from AA. Gaviscon contains aluminium which, apparently, is also bad for your bones. If AA doesn't suit you, you could ask your GP to prescribe Risedronate instead, which is another bisphosphonate but tends to be gentler on the stomach.

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Met00

Thanks Met00. Seems a no win situation Had a chat with Doc and he is adamant that he will not consider changing it till I have tried it for a couple of months. 😒. But will bear this in mind

Kaarina profile image
Kaarina in reply to Mo51

If the side effects are that bad for you then you do not have to continue with the AA. Your GP will not know whether you do or not. Try for a few weeks if you wish. You can go back to your doctor in two months and say that you are still having awful side effects from the AA . I think it is pretty cruel of your doctor to say that you have to take it for 8 weeks before he will consider offering you another drug, which I am sure will be risedronate, from the same family of drugs as AA, but you may well tolerate it better. He is hoping that the symptoms will go away in that time. We know our own body better than anyone else.

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Kaarina

Thanks - yes we do! I have some gastric and digestive issues and I have worked hard to understand and treat had them under control. This has just tipped the balance back and added some!!. I mentioned this but he was adamant. Will see. But 2nd pill tomorrow so keeping everything crossed that this week goes better than last week.

Kaarina profile image
Kaarina in reply to Mo51

I really hope it goes well for you this time. It probably is not the medication for you but well done for trying a second week, especially as you have some digestive issues and have worked hard to get things under control. Bless you. Do let us know how you go on. 💪 :)

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Kaarina

Thank you! You are a generous bunch on here with your help and encouragement. 🙏

Brilliant reply from Met00

I don’t know which hospital department prescribed your AA - in my case osteoporosis is dealt with through rheumatology. The hospital also has a fracture liaison nurse who was the person who started me off.I took AA for four months and eventually felt really awful and I stopped by myself. The fracture liaison nurse phoned to ask how I was getting on after a year on it. When I told her I’d stopped because I felt so ill after taking it fir four months she said I should have contacted her and they would have given me a different drug that had fewer side effects.

I had absolutely no gut problems which is what I would have expected - I didn’t want to have an infusion which would be an option for you and which would by-pass your gut - because if I still felt ill then I knew I’d be stuck like that until my infusion had worked it’s way out of my system.

I used to take my AA on a Sunday morning, I’d get up and get ready to go out for a half hour walk, take my tablet with a full glass of cold tap water and go straight out of the house. We used to set our phone to time our walk then I’d c9me h9me and start to cook breakfast.

So if you have a hospital contact I’d speak to someone there and skip your doctor, it’s well known that AA can cause gut problems and I think it’s most unfair that your doctor should insist that you persist for a couple of months when you are suffering. I certainly wouldn’t want to take PPIs which aren’t good for your bones, so that I could carry on taking something whose side effects were causing me discomfort. If you can’t by-pass your doctor just tell him you are going to stop taking AA altogether.

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Fruitandnutcase

Thanks for the reply and info Fruitandnutcase. I do not have a hospital contact unfortunately. I fractured my wrist at Christmas and because of covid they discharged me to the care of my doc as soon as they decently could!! Even my physio has been done via telephone or video. They told me it was my GP who would be deciding on medication etc. I have just this morning taken my 2nd AA and am incorporating some bits of advice I have been given on here so crossing fingers that this week is less traumatic. TBH I am not hopeful as the dyspeptic side effects from last week had still not gone away yesterday, so can only assume that adding another dose will not be helpful! But seems I have to prove to the doc I have given it a good go before they will consider anything else 😒. I am only in the Osteopenia range I have now discovered as my T score is -2. But I have had 2 fractures (stress fracture in my ankle when running 3 years ago) so it seems that my risk of more fractures is high. I will report on how I get on today - onward and upward 🤞😀

Hello, I am also new to Alendronic acid, once a week. I am on week three and have been OK so far, but after speaking to a Bupa doctor they prescribed Omeprazole 20mg and said to take one before bed the night before my tablet. This seems to be helping alot, so may be worth a go. Hope things get better soon.

Thank you - interesting advice and really happy to hear it is working for you. I am a bit confused as I thought that Omeprazole stopped the AA working? If stomach lined with it from taking it the night before ,then from what I have read, it would make it less likely that the AA would be effective. I must be misunderstanding something. Will ask questions. ❓

I take Lansoprazole first thing in the morning, half an hour before taking anything else (like AA) but on Sundays, when I take AA I don't take the lansoprazole. Too much waiting around. It works for me. Before, I was taking it alongside other pills and supplements as well as food and it wasn't working - until I reread the instructions and realised the error of my ways. But taking lansoprazole or omeprazole predates taking AA so perhaps my stomach was already set up for receiving it. My problem is that I haven't yet been diagnosed with osteoporosis, so not sure I should be taking it at all! It does help.

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to MaggieSylvie

Why did you decide to take the AA MaggieSylvie? Or should I say why did the doc prescribe it for you if you don't have osteoporosis/osteopenia?

MaggieSylvie profile image
MaggieSylvie in reply to Mo51

My GP prescribed it for compression fractures that were diagnosed by MRI. I had a DEXA scan under two years ago that showed I was low risk for my age for fractures. So although there have clearly been some changes since August 2019, I am being refused a DEXA scan. I'm seeing a chiropractor recommended by my GP and she cannot treat me properly without a diagnosis. I phoned the hospital that does the scans and they said they hadn't received a referral form for me! But they were very helpful ; they gave me their email address and said I should pass it on to the surgery and said to ring them again on Monday. I passed the address on to the surgery but they clearly had the address already.

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to MaggieSylvie

So you had a Dexa scan but haven't been told the results - just what the assessment for fractures is? But no diagnosis of osteoporosis? This sounds confusing for you! Have you asked for a copy of your dexa scan as your GP will have a record of it? Or at least the results. Sounds like the NHS are being stingy with Dexa scans. I had one around 3 years ago and was assessed then as having osteopenia (T-2) but low risk for fracture but have since fractured my wrist! So I asked if I can have another one to see if there have been changes. I was told that I can't have another and they would probably not do one for at least 5 years as I was being treated and they were used only to diagnose and assess for whether treatment is necessary. This seems wrong to me and I am going to try and get one done privately.

Yes, I have a copy of the results of the Dexa scan that was taken nearly two years ago. I had nothing to worry about. But since then I experienced unbearable pain for many months and was finally diagnosed with the compression fractures in my spine. They are often caused by osteoporosis and I want to know why I should have osteoporosis develop in such a short time, when the results of that scan were encouraging.

So you are in a similar position. I too thought the NHS was being stingy but now it looks as if my GP didn't request a referral, when she said I had been refused. I looked online for a private one but there is nothing nearby. When I spoke to them on Friday on the phone, they seemed understanding and willing to help. They thought my GP hadn't used the correct method (email form) and perhaps that was why there was no referral. I'm not getting much understanding from my GP. She doesn't understand why I have been in such a lot of pain! Ok, compression fractures don't always cause a lot of pain, but for heaven's sake!

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to MaggieSylvie

Wow! I have only Google level medical knowledge but I do know that compression fractures should be taken very seriously. Sounds like a referral is necessary to a specialist. Surely they need to understand why this has happened to you? If you don't have osteoporosis (and 2 years seems very fast to develop it) then they should at least understand what the underlying issues are? I wish you luck. I am waiting for a price for a private scan from a nearby private provider. Luckily I live near Manchester and there are several local places I can get one (I hope) . Good luck with getting your conundrum sorted quickly

MaggieSylvie profile image
MaggieSylvie in reply to Mo51

Thanks for your support. They diagnosed me with non-specific back pain when x-rays showed no slipped discs or anything. It took at least six months before I saw a physiotherapist, and it was he who referred me for an MRI. Then I was on pain killers for ages and this amazing GP at my local surgery put me on alendronic acid and Evacal D3. This is making my back stronger and I'm managing with paracetamol, but without a diagnosis, I know I shouldn't be takin that medicine - certainly not for any length of time. It's a pity that GP is about to retire because my regular GP is all hot air.

I lived in Manchester for about ten years. I have much affection for the place, but that was half a life time away. It's changed a lot since then.

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to MaggieSylvie

I love Manchester. We moved here about 12 years ago. Great place to live. Let me know how you get on. Seems mad to put you on a long term med without a full investigation and diagnosis. Something must have caused the crushed vertabrae!

I had the same problem after taking one pill of Fosomax .. burning , pain lower ribs and indigestion for 7 weeks ! . I quit after one dose after doing my homework on all these negative side affects of these medications. Not worth having long lasting symptoms .. that can alter my quality of life. We seem to be too intimidated of our doctors .. they are mostly dismissive .. take charge of your body it has to last a life time. Cant wait for my doctor to call so I can tell tell her what I think ! No going back for me!

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Didofernando

I agree we need to be our own advocates and not just listen to the docs who don't know everything - we know our own bodies well. I agree re the negative side effects but wonder how you are dealing with your osteoporosis? I am wondering what my alternatives are if I decide that I cannot tolerate the side effects.

I don’t have any problems so far with my bones meaning breaks. . I’m 65 .. ride my horse every day , power walk 50 minutes daily cut grass etc. I don’t have it in my hips .. just 3 vertebrate in my spine that shows up as moderate. Osteopenia was never suppose to be considered a disease .. but then the doctors ran with it . Years ago we weren’t living as long as we are now .. alot is normal aging . I drink Almond milk 3 times a day . And eat foods high in Calcium. And take 10,000 units of D a week that the doctor suggested. Vitamin K is also recommended.

And then I’ve decided to live my life to the fullest and forget about this so called diagnosis and let the chips fall were they may. 😊🐎

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Didofernando

Sounds great Didofernando - and I am envious of your lifestyle which sounds amazing as well as healthy, I agree with you largely. I also have osteopenia but having had 2 fractures (wrist and ankle) I am a bit concerned about what the future could bring if I don't have treatment. Seems there is more to fractures than just bone density . I am also the sole carer for my husband who has cervical spinal injury. So my health is important for him as well as me and while my wrist was in plaster it was really hard doing things for him and I couldn't drive him to his physio etc. I am pretty active and like you do a lot of walking and also yoga (though wrist not recovered enough to go back to it yet). Am biding my time, talking to a lot of people and weighing up my options before I decide what to do. Thanks for your input - much appreciated and good luck! You seem to be managing things exceptionally well.

Keep positive !😊 be informed ,and at the end of the day trust your gut feeling .. we women have good intuition !! All the best !!!

Update on 2nd week of AA as promised. Bit better I think. I took on board all the suggestions and info from you helpful lot on here and took some Gaviscon the night before then had much more water than the previous week (one glass before pill, one glass with and one glass after) and kept myself really well topped up all day. I ate small and often and bland as the nausea seemed better after a small meal. Still got a very swollen tummy and wind and general dyspepsia but better than previous week and no diahorrea this week. Still felt very weary and still have sore eyes. Also seemed to take a few steps to get my joints working properly - but that could just be the weariness!. Also took some Gaviscon in the evening before bed. Have been prescribed some Omeprazole but decided not to take unless I really need to as there seem to be good reasons not to. Yesterday was very very tired and still had all the gastric issues but a bit better. Feeling better again today. Still not convinced this med is for me - but mildly encouraged by the improvement.

Kaarina profile image
Kaarina in reply to Mo51

Please do not suffer for too long with the AA. Go back in 8 weeks and say it really does not suit you whether you decide to take anymore AA or not during that time. Nothing drastic is going to happen to you, not taking the AA for the next 6 weeks. You should not be feeling like this after taking the AA. As said previously your doctor is cruel to have demanded you take it for 8 weeks. When you return he will put you on Risedronate which will have the same effect as the AA or be more suitable for you. The doctors are told in which order to prescribe these OP meds. I wish you well. :)

Mo51 profile image
Mo51 in reply to Kaarina

Thanks Karina. Have put a detailed reply on my other post but jist is that they have now agreed that I can stop meds and try diet and exercise for a couple of years. And also agreed to me having another DEXA scan as last one was 3 years ago. Feeling much relieved though slightly nervous about ensuring I do enough exercise/eat the right things etc. So much help on here though. Really grateful for all the info and support

Hi Mo51, I'm also a newbie and only took my second dose of AA this week. The 1st was awful and 2nd improved but still had nausea, really tired and a little dizzy but also have the symptoms for another condition. I was advised to give it a month but if after 2 weeks I had really bad symptoms give them a call to change meds. I'm going to see how it goes for the month. Good luck with your next dose. X

Good luck NewBloom. I hope your symptoms subside. Must be tough already having one condition then having another diagnosed on the top of that. I wish you all the good things x

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