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A sufficient alendronate dose is affected by many factors, including the condition the drug is being used to treat, whether the drug is being taken preventatively or to treat, and how frequently the patienbt wishes to take the drug. Patients can choose to take alendronate weekly or daily, and this affects what is classed as a sufficient dose. A normal, daily dose for osteoporosis is 10 milligrams (mg) orally per day, and a weekly dose is 70 mg orally per week. When the drug is being used for other conditions, such as Paget’s disease, the recommended alendronate dose increases to 40 mg per day.
Patients suffering from osteoporosis will typically require a 10 mg per day alendronate dose to improve their condition. This is the primary use of the drug, and therefore most patients will be on this dosage. This can be reduced to 5 mg per day if the patient’s osteoporosis was caused by glucocorticoids. In post-menopausal women with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, the reduced dosage should only be given if the patient is not currently taking estrogen.
Different conditions require a different alendronate dose to treat. The next most common condition that the drug is used to treat is Paget’s disease. This condition requires a much larger dosage to treat than osteoporosis, 40 mg per day. Patients should take this daily dosage for around six months to clear up the condition, and this regimen should be repeated if the patient suffers a relapse.
It is also possible to take alendronate as a preventative medication for osteoporosis. This may be done in the case of high-risk patients such as post-menopausal women. The required alendronate dose for prevention of osteoporosis is 5 mg per day taken orally, half of the amount required to treat osteoporosis.
For the treatment or prevention of osteoporosis, patients can opt to take their alendronate dose daily or weekly. The total dosage amounts are equal over the course of the week, but the individual dosages vary considerably. If a patient is taking one weekly alendronate dose for osteoporosis, the dosage would be 70 mg, compared to the 10 mg doses required for daily treatment. Doctors often allow patients to choose the frequency of their treatments.
Alendronate is part of a drug class called bisphosphonates, which are used to prevent osteoporosis and other degenerative bone conditions. Bone cells are constantly removed and replaced by cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Drugs such as alendronate stop the action of osteoclasts, which remove the bone material. This helps to combat conditions such as osteoporosis by increasing bone density.