What are bisphosphonates?

a pile of tablets

What are bisphosphonates?

This is the name given to the family of drugs used to treat osteoporosis although there are two commonly used in the UK.

Alendronic acid also known as Fosamax and risedronate also called Actonel.

How do they work ?

These drugs work by binding the surfaces of the bones and slow down the osteoclasts which are the cells that break down bone.

This then allows the osteoblasts  the bone building cells  to work more effectively. Pretty complicated but very interesting !

People with Osteoporosis should be taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement unless they have been otherwise advised against doing so by their GP.

Calcium combined with Vit D helps to reduce the rate of bone loss and strengthen your bones increase muscle strength and balance.

ADCAL is one tablet chewed twice a day and CALCICHEW  is one tablet chewed twice a day.

It is important that all medication is taken as prescribed ,however some side effects.


These may include symptoms of nausea and loose bowel movements.

Osteoporosis medication is designed to be taken with food and if you also take either omeprazole or lansoprazole allow 2-3 hours betwwn the two.

(Source: Devon Primary Care Trust )



Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.

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