Doctors use alendronate sodium to help treat and prevent bone loss from osteoporosis in women, to increase bone mass in men and as a treatment for Paget's bone disease. Alendronate sodium is available in tablet doses ranging from 5mg to 70mg and as an oral solution for the 70mg dose.
Alendronate sodium works by slowing bone resorption and increasing bone density, helping to offset the effects of Paget's bone disease and osteoporosis. Common side effects of alendronate sodium include decreased kidney function, difficulty breathing, and moderate to severe allergic reactions to some or all of the components in the drug.
The side effects of alendronate are rarely serious and include constipation, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and gas. Serious irritation and ulcers of the esophagus are experienced occasionally. Severe side effects that include chest pain, aggravated heartburn, and pain or difficulty when swallowing should be reported to a doctor immediately, and the medication should be discontinued, WebMD advises. Allergic reactions to alendronate are rare, but individuals should seek immediate medical help for symptoms that indicate serious reactions such as rashes; itching and swelling of the face, tongue or throat; dizziness and difficulty breathing.
Certain medical conditions can affect the use of alendronate. A doctor or pharmacist should be made aware of the presence of conditions such as anemia, cancer, dental problems, heart-related conditions, kidney problems, surgery, infections, and stomach and bowel problems, states Mayo Clinic.