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Osteoporosis Medications: Bisphosphonates

Depending on your needs, your provider may prescribe medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Senior woman taking pill with water.

Bisphosphonates

These medications help prevent and treat bone loss. Bisphosphonates are in pill or injectable form or 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:

  • Heartburn

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bone or muscle pain

Taking Bisphosphonates

Always read medication information closely. 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 before any food, drink, or other medications.

  • While sitting or standing. You should not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bhattacharyya, Tim MD
Last Review Date: 3/14/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.