Bisphosphonate Drugs is a class of drugs used to treat disorders known as osteopenia and osteoporosis, characterized by thin or weak bones that are more prone to breaking.
Patients with low bone mass or a history of brittle bone fractures in the hip, arm, wrist, or spine are prescribed to take these drugs. The medications work to fortify the bones and prevent future bone fractures.
To keep the bones strong, they are frequently given together with calcium and vitamin D. This class of drugs can be used to treat Paget’s disease and cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bone in addition to osteopenia and osteoporosis.
How Do Bisphosphonate Drugs Work?
In our bodies, bone cells are continuously eliminated and replaced by new bone cells, and we experience this throughout our entire lives. Osteoclasts break down old bones, while osteoblasts are cells that regenerate new bone.
By lowering osteoclast activity, bisphosphonates slow down bone turnover or the removal of old bone. As people age, especially those diagnosed with certain diseases, the bone is removed or damaged faster than your body can replace it. As a result, the bones become weak and brittle and are considerably more susceptible to breaking from a minor impact or a fall. However, bisphosphonate drugs preserve your bone density and strength which prevents fractures.
How To Take Bisphosphonate?
Alendronate, risedronate and ibandronate are oral drugs taken either daily, weekly, or monthly. Selecting one of these medications may depend on your existing or other medical conditions and the disease being treated.
Alendronate is often taken orally once a week in doses of 70 mg. In comparison, risedronate is taken orally at 35 mg once a week or 150 mg once a month to treat osteoporosis. Meanwhile, ibandronate is taken orally once a month at 150 mg.
First thing in the morning, bisphosphonates should be taken alone, with an empty stomach, and with only 240 mL (8 oz) of water. After administration, the patient should wait for at least a half-hour for alendronate and risedronate, and an hour for ibandronate before consuming any food, liquids, or supplements.
Your healthcare provider will review the appropriate duration of your treatment with you. Your doctor may also advise taking alendronate for five years, followed by a drug break, if you have a low fracture risk.
Bisphosphonate Side Effects
Bisphosphonates often don’t have a lot of adverse effects. If you do have them, they usually last only a short time. Everyone reacts differently to drugs, and you may experience one or more side effects.
Some bisphosphonate side effects may include:
- Fever and flu-like symptoms
- Low levels of calcium in your blood
- Bone and joint pain
- Changes in bowel movements
- Tiredness and low energy levels
- Feeling sick
- Changes to your kidneys
- Irritation of the esophagus
- Jaw problems