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Risedronate/calcium (By mouth)

Prevents or treats osteoporosis (weak bones).

Brand Name(s):

Actonel with Calcium

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to risedronate or calcium, or if you have esophagus problems or trouble swallowing. Do not use this medicine if you have very low or high levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia). Do not use this medicine if you cannot stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes after you take the medicine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions if you need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • If any of Actonel® medicine stays in your esophagus, it may cause serious damage. To lower the risk of this problem, take your medicine exactly as directed.
  • The usual dose is to take an Actonel® tablet on day 1 and then 1calcium tablet on each of the next 6 days.
  • Actonel® tablet:
    • Take your medicine as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, before you eat or drink anything (except water)
    • Swallow the tablet whole with a large glass (6 to 8 ounces) of plain water only (not mineral water, coffee, tea, soda, juice, or any other liquid). Do not chew or suck on the tablet.
    • Take this medicine while you are sitting or standing. Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicine, and do not lie down until after you have eaten some food.
    • Wait at least 30 minutes after you swallow the tablet before you eat or drink anything or take any other medicines. This will help your body absorb the medicine.
  • Calcium tablet: Take with food to help your body absorb the calcium.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • Actonel®: If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine in the morning, take it the next morning after you remember. Do not take 2 tablets on the same day. Return to your regular schedule the following week.
  • Calcium: If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you remember. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicine or receiving treatments that weaken your immune system, such as cancer treatment, radiation treatment, or steroids (such as dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone, Medrol®). Do not take the risedronate tablet at the same time you take aluminum, magnesium, iron, or calcium supplements or antacids (such as Maalox®, Mylanta®, Tums®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using aspirin or products that contain aspirin, or any type of NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), vitamin D, thyroid medicine (such as levothyroxine, Synthroid®), a diuretic (water pill, such as hydrochlorothiazide), or an antibiotic (such as ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, minocycline, tetracycline, Avelox®, Cipro®, Levaquin®, Solodyn®, Vigamox®).
  • This medicine may interact with the dye used for bone scans.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, kidney stones, stomach ulcers, heartburn, or any other stomach or bowel problems. Tell your doctor if you have a mineral imbalance or trouble absorbing minerals in your stomach (malabsorption syndrome). Also tell your doctor if you smoke or drink alcohol.
  • This medicine may harm your throat and esophagus. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have heartburn (either new or worse than usual), pain when swallowing, pain in the center of your chest, trouble swallowing, or a feeling that food gets stuck on the way to your stomach.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine could cause jaw problems, especially if you have a tooth pulled or have other dental work. Tell your doctor or dentist if you have pain, swelling, or other problems in your mouth or jaw. Make sure your doctor knows about dental problems that you already have and if you wear dentures. Also tell your doctor if you have cancer, anemia, or blood clotting problems, because you could be more likely to develop jaw problems.
  • This medicine may increase your risk of breaking a thigh bone. This may be more common if you use it for a long time. Check with your doctor right away if you have dull or aching pain in the thigh, groin, or hips.
  • Calcium supplements can cause kidney stones. Make sure your doctor knows if you have had kidney stones in the past. Call your doctor right away if you have severe pain in your lower back or side, or if you have trouble urinating or blood in the urine.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or itchy skin rash
  • Blood in the urine, lower back pain, side pain, sharp back pain just below the ribs
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, burning or painful urination
  • Chest pain, heartburn, or burning feeling in the throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Heavy feeling in the jaw, loose teeth, or other teeth problems
  • Increased thirst, loss of appetite, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting
  • Muscle spasms, twitching, tingling, numbness
  • Severe bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • Unusual or severe stomach pain
  • Unusual pain in your thigh, groin, or hip

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Back , neck , or joint pain
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Mild back pain, neck pain, or joint pain
  • Mild nausea, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, or stomach upset

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 10/4/2014


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