Actonel is commonly used to treat and prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and anyone who has corticosteroid-related osteoporosis. The medication works by slowing down bone loss in the body. Actonel comes in tablet form and is taken daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on various factors. Possible side effects include muscle pain, joint pain, and heartburn.

What Is Actonel?

Actonel® (risedronate sodium) is a prescription medication approved for the following uses:
  • To prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
  • To treat osteoporosis in men
  • To prevent and treat osteoporosis (in both men in women) due to the use of steroid medications, such as prednisone
  • To treat Paget's disease in men and women.
(Click Actonel Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Actonel?

Actonel is made by Warner Chilcott Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

How Does It Work?

Actonel belongs to a group of medications known as bisphosphonates. The drug binds to certain cells in bones and slows down the rate at which bone breaks down.


Actonel has been evaluated in several studies for various osteoporosis-related uses.

Actonel and Postmenopausal Women

Actonel was evaluated in two large studies involving almost 4,000 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. In these studies, the drug reduced the risk of vertebral fractures (broken spinal bones) by up to 65 percent. It also reduced the risk of other types of broken bones by up to 39 percent. Actonel also increased the bone mineral density (a measure of the strength of bones) in the spine, hip, and wrist. Interestingly, women taking Actonel lost less height when compared with women not taking it.
Actonel can also be used to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women with risk factors for the disease. In studies, women taking the drug showed increased bone mineral density, while those not taking it actually experienced bone loss.
Men and Osteoporosis

Actonel for Osteoporosis

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