Osteoporosis Home > Fosamax

Fosamax is a medication that is used to treat osteoporosis and Paget's disease. The drug is also licensed to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. It comes in tablet form. Possible side effects of Fosamax include muscle pain, joint pain, and indigestion.

What Is Fosamax?

Fosamax® (alendronate sodium) is a prescription medication approved for the following uses:
  • Treating osteoporosis in both men in women due to steroid medications, such as prednisone
  • Preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
  • Treating osteoporosis in men
  • Treating Paget's disease in men and women.
(Click Fosamax Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Fosamax?

Fosamax is made by Merck & Co., Inc.

How Does It Work?

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


Fosamax has been evaluated in several studies for various osteoporosis-related uses.
Fosamax and Postmenopausal Women
Fosamax has been evaluated in four studies of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. In these studies, the drug reduced the risk of vertebral fractures (broken spinal bones) by 48 percent. In women who already had a vertebral fracture before starting it, the drug reduced the risk of a broken hip or wrist by about 50 percent. The studies also showed that the medication increased the bone mineral density (a measure of the strength of bones) in the spine and hip. Interestingly, women taking it lost less height, compared with women not taking it.
It 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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