Osteoporosis Medicines: Bisphosphonates
Depending on your needs, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
Several medicines make up the class of drugs known as bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are the most common type of medicine used to help prevent and treat bone loss. Bisphosphonates are given in pill or injectable form as an IV infusion. They must be taken exactly as directed. Benefits may include:
Reducing bone loss
Increasing bone density in the hip and spine
Reducing risk of fractures in the spine, hip, and wrist
Side effects may include:
Belly (abdominal) pain
Bone or muscle pain
Taking bisphosphonates pills
Always read medicine information closely. You should not take bisphosphonates if you currently have upper gastrointestinal disease. Certain bisphosphonates must be taken:
On an empty stomach.
With a full glass of water (8 oz.) first thing in the morning.
At least 30 minutes to 1 hour before any food, drink, or other medicines.
While sitting or standing. You should not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking the medicine.
Newer medicines can be taken weekly or monthly. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which one is right for you.
Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD