Any opinions, experience of weekly fosamax tablets?

I have GCA. Started on 60 mg pred, then 40 mg, now starting today on 35mg. I take 2 calcichew tablets per day. Now my GP has suggested I consider also taking a fosamax ( biphosphonate) tablet as well, which would be once a week to help prevent osteoporosis. Knowing that I like information about anything I take she suggested I take a couple of weeks to find out about it and then discuss it with her again.

I'd be grateful for any thoughts Anyone has.

6 Replies

  • Hi LD,

    Some folks get on great with biphosphonates, some have problems. I guess it's the same with most drugs, they can give side effects, but your GP wouldn't offer them if she didn't think you needed them. You could always ask for a DEXA scan to assess your bone density. You may not need drugs if the results are good. Myself, I have never taken them. I've had one DEXA scan when I first went on pred. The results were good. That was about 18 months ago. I'd like another scan now, but I don't know if they'd give me one. I've heard they're quite hard to get.


  • Pats

    A few years ago my area had long waiting times for DEXA scans and I was refused one by both my GP and rheumy. Never having had a DEXA pre-PMR and steroids, I thought it would be a good idea to have a baseline figure so opted for a private scan a few weeks after starting high dose steroids and my results were normal. Two years later, I asked for a repeat and this time it was agreed (waiting times had reduced to just a few weeks) and osteopenia was diagnosed. However, a third scan a couple of years later and now on tiny steroid doses showed just a small deterioration but still within the osteopenia range, not osteoporosis. I feel I've been quite lucky especially as I've not been able to take calcium supplements throughout my steroid treatment and have relied purely on a high intake of dietary calcium.

    I'm not sure whether you would be granted another DEXA after just 18 months - the normal time range for repeats if every 3 years, 2 if your lucky!


    Perhaps you could ask for a DEXA scan before making a decision?

  • Hi Celtic,

    Thanks for the advice. Three years is a long time in bone health so will ask my rheumy on my next visit.


  • I start tomorrow (Sunday) with the once weekly med and the calcium supp chews. I was told these 2 go togther at the chemist. To be honest I did feel a bit weary about having them given my age but the doc still seemed to think I needed them so have gone with it. I assume he would not offer them as they are expensive meds if he did not think they would be helpful.

  • Thank you for your helpful replies, Pats, Celtic, and Sue8. I had a dexa scan 5 years ago, after having breast cancer and starting on tablets to prevent recurrence of that ( which themselves deplete the body of calcium). That was when I started on calcichew. The scan was normal then. I think my next move will be to ask if I should have another scan, as you suggested, before considering starting yet more tablets.

    Incidentally there is information about osteoporosis, including different preventative treatments and tests, on , which is the website of the National Osteoporosis Society and was suggested to me by my GP. They have forums too.

    I hope you get on OK with your new treatment, Sue8. Would be interested to hear how it goes. I never had any problems with the calcichew myself, even now that the dose is doubled to counteract the Pred.

  • Because I already had a reflux condition, my GP decided that I couldn't cope with the weekly tablet and instead gave me Strontium Ranelate which is normally given to people who already have osteoporosis to prevent deterioration. Don't like it much but it seems to be free of obvious side effects. I'm part of a research programme called UK Biobank which started long before I got PMR and in a fortnight am going for a follow up which will involve a heel scan which will give me an idea of any bone deterioration since the first scan. I do have daily AdCal chewable tablets which, to my relief, are rather nice!

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