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Alendronic Acid and side effects - useful reading

Thought it may be of help to get matters in perspective. Do look at the site at **** on bonehealth and osteoporosis. Wish I had read more before I started taking the drug. I have now stopped it, convinced that my joint and tendon problems, racing heart and general and increasing awful feelings of fatigue and illness are linked to the start of taking alendronic acid. I understand now why my GP was a bit reluctant to prescribe it in the first place but I trusted my hospital consultant and believed he would be looking after me for the good. Maybe this trust was a bit misplaced?

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  • Juliefogs

    Good morning. It is a difficult decision to make as to whether or not to take Alendronic acid isn't it. I am 60, and have taken 6 tablets now. The first 4 were ok, until the day before I was due to take my weekly dose, when I felt really rough, and developed diahorea. Decided it couldn't possibly be the pill, so took the next one. Felt generally unwell, but didn't think it was connected. On taking the 6th dose, I found I was dizzy, shaky, and when I sat down, had the most weird feeling in my stomach. Rang the Dr, who said take 2 Ranitidine now, and again tonight. Did this which stopped the weird feeling, but have felt rough ever since. Very shaky, and dizzy, and stiff joints. Tummy churning, and diahorea again. Saw the Dr, who seemed to think it could well be the Alendronic acid. She suggested stopping it for 4 weeks to see how I got on. Then maybe give it another try, or try something else.

    I have always taken a calcium supplement, as my Mother and Grandmother had osteoporosis. Am now taking Calci chews, which the Dr prescribed.

    My problem at the moment is, that I have suffered from anxiety a few months ago, and am now wondering if any of my current symptoms could be that. I wasn't feeling anxious about the pill before I felt strange, so now I suppose I have to sit it out for a week, and see if the symptoms subside.

    Don't want my spine to crumble, but can't live like this. sad

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Juliefogs

  • Guest

    Good evening. Sorry you have been feeling so rough. Since I posted this last comment I have been feeling very much better - I stopped the drug with my doctor's agreement and the racing erratic heart beat was a problem no more, I gradually began to feel more energetic and more like my old self. The tendon and muscle problems have yet to resolve but the digestive problems - heartburn, acid reflux and tummy upsets have also settled - I have crohn's disease, an inflmamatory bowel condition and can do without added complications. I see my hospital consultant in August so it will be interesting to hear what she has to say!! Incidentally my last bone scan gave a score of -2.2. Many years ago I suffered for a time with panic attacks but these recent symtoms were quite different and clearly related to some other cause. I hope with time you will begin to feel better and healthier. It will do no harm to go off the drug for a while and see if your symptoms improve - you are merely keeping your options open. It is difficult to know what to do for the best but I believe in following my instincts, coupled with an open mind. Being positive and confident about making a decision to help yourself I'm sure will be of great benefit. I too have been on calchichew (D3 Forte) for about 8 years. I continue to take that, eat healthily and exercise whenever possible. I can't help but feel there is too much scare mongering in respect of the need for preventive medecine - something my GP also supports. I am 53 and naturally want to be as healthy as possible, but I don't want to exchange a ''perceived risk'' with an actual harmful side effect. I realise that I may need to try another drug in the future but I do believe that I am doing the right thing for me at the moment being Alendronate free. I will keep you posted. All the best, hope you are feeling better already. smile

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  • Guest

    Thank you for that. I have stopped taking the Alendronic acid, as advised by the doctor, because I felt so unwell. I should have taken the 6th pill today, so I am hoping I shall start to feel better soon.

    Now I am unsure if the achey back is due to Osteoporosis, or Alendronic acid.

    The doctor says go back in 4 weeks, and we can look at something else, but everything seems to have side effects. I know it won’t necessarily mean I will get them, but it is worrying.

    Considering trying some extra supplements, as I have read that Magnesium is good for the bones.

    It is a nightmare isn’t it! Kind regards, Julie. :o)

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Guest

  • Guest

    2 years later! Hope u guys r doing well at the moment. I'm 23 and hav had crohns for most of my life, I've been told I've taken alendronic acid before but it must hav been a good few years ago because I don't remember it apart from the name. I've recently been subscribed it by my specialist at st marks and decided to research a bit before I start. Alot of people seem to hav problems with it and I'm already on methotrexate which makes me feel lousey anyway so I'm feeling a bit aprehensive about taking it. I've also read that it can cause gastrointestinal ulcering which definitly doesn't sound good for a crohns patient. Have you found out anything more since you posted and would u recommend I talk to my GP or specialist before starting. If you (or anyone else that has any info on the subject) manage to read this, any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Reguards Max

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  • Madssec

    Hi there

    I was beginning to think that I was imagining this. I'm on steroids and take AA every Wednesday and I always feel awful; achy, flulike symptoms, sometimes upset stomach, shivvering and cold. As I am coming off the steroids I'm hoping to stop tA soon too. I hope you get some answers soon .

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Madssec

  • U See

    Hi All,

    This is very interesting to me. I have ulcerative colitis and after 2 years of repeated high doses of steroids I have been put on to alendronic acid. i have been taking it for about 4 months and although I have not noticed any acute symptoms I am aware of a burning sensation in my stomach and general queasiness after taking it. What I hadn't linked was the chronic fatigue and fuzzy head as these are side affects of the disease anyway.

    What I really wanted to say is that I have found out today that you must not get pregnant whilst taking this or any other bisphosphonates or in fact for at least 2 years after taking it. This has come as a horrible shock to me, I always read the leaflets that come with medicines and I am sure that it did not mention the 2 year break before pregnancy, nor did my consultant. If I had known this I would not have taken it as starting a family is high on my agenda, something I have already been warned might not be easy and require yet more medical intervention.

    Hope this information is helpful to somebody.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to U See

  • Spindles

    I stopped taking alendronic acid after EIGHT YEARS of being on it. I had been blindly taking it once a week after having been prescribed it all those years ago because I had been diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine. It wasn't until I went to my dentist a couple of months ago that I really learnt about the effects of it. Luckily my old dentist had emigrated and a new one went through the list of medication I was on and told me about a condition that people can get if they have been on alendronic acid for a long time, something my other dentist had never mentioned. It's called osteonecrosis of the jaw. He said that because I had been on alendronic acid for so long it was highly likely that if I needed to have a tooth out I would have to have it done in hospital because there is a high risk of the bones of my jaw crumbling and not healing properly. After I had seen him I went home and looked up alendronic acid and teeth and was shocked to read that some people had only been on the drug a couple of months or slightly longer before getting problems with it. There is a lot of information about the drug and some of it is to do with trials or research where the results say that there MAY be a connection with this or that so no definite proof but while there is the slightest hint that there might be something bad about taking the drug I think people should be aware of what might happen.

    Apparently the drug stays in your body for 10 to 12 YEARS after you stop taking it! There's speculation that rather than strengthening the bones it can make them more brittle, caused by the fact that it stops the production of new bone and just strengthens the old stuff meaning that you end up with dense but brittle bones. There is a fairly rare problem where people have been on the drug for a while and they get sudden breakages of their femurs caused in an insignificant way, for example slipping off a kerb or shifting their weight onto one leg. One survey found that of all the people who had experienced these breakages, something like 93% had been on alendronic acid. They had reported pains in their thighs for some months before, along with muscle weakness and these are the symptoms that I had been experiencing for about three months. My right thigh would ache a lot when I did more than just walking around the house. As for muscle weakness, I was finding that if I lifted anything heavy one of my legs would give way. The most recent event was when I was putting on a pair of trousers, standing on my left leg while I put my right leg in and it was just as if someone had kicked my left leg from under me and I fell with my right leg raised and landed on the base of my hip joint. Thankfully I don't appear to have broken anything.

    I went to the doctor, armed with some printouts from the internet which didn't endear me to her and said that I had been having the pains and muscle weakness and had read that problems can occur after being on them and that five years should be the maximum to be on them. She got out her little drug book and said "Well it doesn't say that here" and I thought No, it probably doesn't as that is more than likely issued by the drug company who makes the tablets! She has reluctantly agreed that I should try staying off them for a while but I intend to stay off them for good. Even if there is a risk that my bones will get more brittle, if the drug is causing me pain and muscle weakness which leads to falls then I'd rather take the risk. I'm not one to suddenly fall over after losing my balance, all the falls I've had, which aren't that many, have been caused by me standing on a chair and falling off, tripping over a carpet, slipping down the stairs because I wasn't wearing any shoes etc. and not just by losing my balance. The doctor, by the way, didn't do anything about the muscle weakness or aching thighs but she did grudgingly order a blood test to check my calcium levels, something they are supposed to do before they put you onto a calcium supplement.

    Research on alendronic acid lead me on the finding out about the other drugs I am on. I take Omeprazole for heartburn but apparently alendronic acid can cause heartburn and calcium can cause heart attacks. After popping an Omeprazole every day while on alendronic acid, since I have stopped taking them I have only had one bout of it and that was caused, I think, by stress.

    To sum up, I think that whenever people are put on ANY drugs, they should not only read the information leaflet that comes with the medication but they should look it up on the internet when they will REALLY find out about the drug because although the drug companies give possible side effects in their information, it's not the same as getting it straight from the people who actually take the stuff which means that all the niggling things that you thought were just old age are more than likely down to the drugs that doctors seems to dish out like sweets without thinking of the long term consequences. Sorry this has gone on so long but I've got a real bee in my bonnet now about prescribed drugs!

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Spindles

  • brado

    I am Male aged 82.

    I was prescribed alendronic acid and calchichew (D3 Forte) a year ago, after my lower lumbar region

    severely collapsed. Probably caused by gardening and lifting my wife to a sitting position every morning,

    for about 18 months

    I have 2 collapsed vertebrae T10 and T12. Since then the arthritis in my ankles and knees have got

    considerably worse. I also have itching everywhere, only mild, but an annoyance.

    I also get tendon pains in my left leg, when I lie down. This gets worse until I can find a position where it

    goes away.

    I also get indigestion every night. I mentioned this to my doctor, but was advised to try to put up with it.

    It wasn't then as bad as it is now. (3 months ago).

    I thought I was on my own with these side effects, thinking that the doctor would know from experience

    and would tell me if it was common.

    I am now going to stop taking the tablets for a months trial.

    To keep the records straight ,I will tell the doctor when I see him next week

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to brado

  • Cruiser

    I have just found this forum, as I have just been prescribed Alendronic Acid and am not sure that I will take them due to the horrific possible side-effects.

    I am 79, and have always been healthy, reasonably active, until I fell and broke my leg about 18 months ago. My doctor referred me for a bone density test, which I had a few weeks ago. The doctor's receptionaist phoned me yesterday to say the results were in, I have signs of osteoporosis, and the doctor prescribed Alendronic Acid and CalcichewD3. I have not started them yet. I had already been taking Calcium with vitamins D and K for a year (buying them myself) I don't know the actual result of my bone density test, but I can't help feeling that in view of my age and the fact that I did break a leg the hospital and/or GP may assume that I am bound to have osteoporosis! Before I broke my leg, I went dancing two or three times a week - energetic dancing like quicksteps and jives - so had plenty of exercise. I am now getting back to dancing although not so often or quite so energetic as before, but this is improving. My broken leg was not the result of losing my balance and it was the first time in my life I had ever broken a bone - other falls have resulted in pulled muscles or sprained ankles. My point is that I defy anyone who falls down a flight of concrete steps -merely by not looking where she was going -not to break something whatever their age or strength of their bones!

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Cruiser

  • cathy 1

    Hello everyone!

    I am an over 60 female. I had a scan after breaking a bone in my foot this summer and have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis of the spine and "thin hip bones" (thank goodness for a layer of cushioning fat, great for soft landings!)

    I have taken my 4th Alendronic acid tablet this morning. I have noticed aching limbs at night, more than is usual for me. Now, one leg is aching and I know I will have trouble sleeping tonight. Again. I have had to take Paracetamol Plus in the middle of the night to ease aching bones since taking these tablets.

    I had read the leaflet already, but looked on line and found this forum. Having read this thread, I am resolved to ring my GP in the morning!

    I also take Calcichew D3 Forte twice daily (although I keep forgetting them, not yet being used to the regime and being rather forgetful!) Hopefully these will do no significant harm.

    I wonder what my GP will have to say...

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to cathy 1

  • yvonne8

    Female 55. Havent had any broken bones but the dentist found my problem in my jaw, after persistent absyses. she was trying to put me off the drug too. I have just taken possession of my first pack of Alendronic acid and after reading the side effects decided to make an appointment with another doc at the surgery to discuss. I dont like the sound of them at all and after reading the comments on this forum am convinced that I am not going to take them. I am going to do more research but it does not sound like a good drug at all.

    .....going Thursday, I wonder what the GP will say too.,...

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  • cathy 1

    Hi Yvonne,

    I have seen a locum doctor.

    She said to keep taking the A Acid as my symptoms would reduce after a while and it was more likely my aching bones were caused by the Statins I take for cholesterol.

    I asked what the A Acid was for, deliberately not saying I had been looking on this forum and she said, with a smile, "wait for this" before reading from her scruffy looking little fat book. As I understand, it is supposed to slow down the rate at which bone thickens so I asked her "does that mean if I break a bone it will take longer to mend? the doctor did not reply to this. She said I should have blood tests done. I thought, for what? but had lost the will to ask, by the time we were finished!

    I will see my own doctor later today for blood test results and to tell him that unless he can convince me otherwise I will not be taking any more A Acid tablets.

    Good luck to you for thursday!

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to cathy 1

  • cathy 1

    Seen my own GP this evening.

    A. Acid slows down the rate of THINNING not THICKENING - mistake in my previous post.

    He has suggested I try another tablet instead of A. Acid. My 'bloods' were all ok. I will give the new tablets a try for a month and see,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to cathy 1

  • alison85

    Hello all, after finding this forum really helpful I was able to make an educated decision to stop taking Alendronic Acid. I have osteoporosis of my major joints - hips, knees, elbows, and it is now at the base of my spine and at the top. I have had a very severe pain in the top of my arm, the muscle felt as though it was being twisted by a knife, the pain was far worse than my other.

    I am taking Tramodol and Calcichew D3 x2 each day, I was offered Omeprazole but I don't take them as I have no stomach complaints yet. I am still tired but the pains in my arm has subsided which I am pleased about.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to alison85

  • barbs2607

    Evening to all here. I'm an active slim 60 yr old female. Lots of walking, gardening etc. Eat healthily, yet enjoy the occasional naughty pieces of chocolate and real (dairy) ice cream. Partial thyroidectomy 20 years ago, so take 50mcg thyroxine daily.

    Reasonable cholesterol levels (yearly check as with thyroid)) usual patter with the doc-no I'm not going on statins as the LDL'S and HDL's ratio is good irrespective of the number and I have a good diet:-) Sorry Doc; I have control over my life.

    DEXA scan a couple of years ago was slightly alarming. Plopped on calcium tablets with D3, yet the percentage of both was so low, as to be nearly ineffective; also interactive with the thryoxine:-)

    Internet search showed one should also take a higher percentage of magnesium too. Doc unaware of this. Also had a print out of the "benefits" of taking the osteoporosis drugs. I chose to refuse all of them, as most have previously used as an industrial cleaner:-)

    Last week, I was co-erced into trying the alendronic acid tablets (generic form of fosamax). OK Doc, your mum takes them and she seems to be OK--so I'll give them a whizz short term. Well--why does one only use them for 5 years, like the breast cancer drug Tamoxafen? Is this another wheeze for the pharma companies to do their research on us, the unsuspecting Joe Public? My Doc "couldn't possibly comment". I also requested calcium citrate instead of carbonate tablets--well what a nonsense to get them. Am happy to buy my own D3 tablets from the well known High Street Company.

    So with a totally open mind I took one tablet 8 days ago. To be honest when it was stated "drink with at least 8oz of water, (not mineral), stand/sit upright for at least 30 minutes afterwards, eat nothing and drink nothing else my alarm bells started ringing, yet was happy to give the benefit of the doubt! 8 hrs later, the side effects were truly horrendous. I shall be relaying these to the Pharma company--yet in all honesty, I feel they couldn't really care as they're making mega millions from those prescribing this "wonder drug".

    I tried to find information on the net as to how long after just one tablet one could expect all these horrible side effects to carry on. Surprise---found nothing.

    All I know, through doing intensive internet research is: these tablets do not increase bone density. They DO increase the fracture rate through brittle bones (different to low bone density). Perhaps I'm just so aware (and sceptical) of all these "great" pharma companies "reseach". Perhaps, buyer be(a)ware could be the order of the day eh?! Would be happy to let you know of the horrendous side effects of just taking one tablet. Barbs

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to barbs2607

  • lynda45

    I was prescribed Alendronic Acid tablets several weeks ago. I've taken 7 tablets and never felt so rotten!

    Back pain and strange pains at the tops of my femurs - so bad at times - I could hardly walk. I'm fit and active and not overweight. I wondered what on earth was the matter and then I found this forum. I've spoken to my

    GP and the outcome is that I am stopping the tablets for a while to see if I improve. It was as though she

    hadn't heard similar symptoms from other patients. I am hoping all these symptoms disappear now - fingers

    crossed.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to lynda45

  • Spindles

    I stopped taking the alendronic acid a year ago almost to the day (6/6/12) and was surprised how long ago it was when I checked. I have to say that I haven't had any of the pains in my thighs and aching that I was getting when I was on them. I have commented previously about the problems I had but the woman doctor I saw didn't seem to believe I was having side effects from the tablets. I have to say that I have heard the "my mother takes them and she's OK" from a doctor and all I can say is "So what?" Everyone is different and just because he's a doctor it doesn't mean that he knows everything. They rely so much on the little black book that tells them all about the medications they dish out but it's getting the facts from the horses mouths, the people who actually take them, that matters.

    I am still prescribed the Adcal D3 tablets but have to admit that I don't always take them as I read that the calcium can build up and cause problems so if it's not one thing it's another. I wonder how many people are taking medication to counteract the side effects of another medication - thousands probably. My husband was put on blood pressure tablets and cholesterol tablets but he was getting terrible pains in his feet so he told the doctor he wouldn't take them any more and he's been fine since then - coincidence or what?

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Spindles

  • meg712

    Does anyone know if there is a time limit to how long this drug is taken for? My mother is 82 years old was given this drug some time ago and suffers from most of the side effects to varying degrees, yet neither her GP nor her hospital consultant have ever suggested she stop taking it.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to meg712

  • david465

    My father in law is 92 this month. In December he suffered a broken hip. Recovery has been slow,expected at his age. About eight weeks ago he was prescribed Alendronic Acid tablets and the only thing I can say is the side effects have been horrendous. He has been suffering severe dizzy spells and nausea, cannot control his bowls, severe wind and the latest symptom appears to be ' confusion', something he has never suffered from before. He has become permanently tired and will spend most of the day in bed, if allowed. this is a man who seven months ago was travelling into Birmingham on public transport five times a week! Thankfully today his GP has taken him off them and, hopefully, he can get some of his old self back.

    I would've advise anyone who is elderly to take this drug.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to david465

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