Alendronate is the most common medicine prescribed for the treatment of osteoporosis in the United States. Alendronate is a generic medicine made by various manufacturers in a tablet form. The brand name Fosamax (alendronate), developed and marketed by Merck, went off patent in 2008. It is usually prescribed as a 70 milligram dosage taken by mouth once a week.
Alendronate is in the class of medicines called bisphosphonates. It works by decreasing bone turnover. Therefore, the breakdown of bone is slowed down and results in an increase of bone mass. The goal of taking alendronate is to decrease your risk of breaking a bone.
Now alendronate is available in an effervescent tablet called Binosto. Think Alka-Seltzer. Drop Binosto in room temperature water, it fizzes up and is in solution ready to drink after a quick stir. Since the solution is “buffered,” it is supposed to be less likely than alendronate in the tablet form to irritate the esophagus or the stomach. Binosto might be an option if you have trouble taking tablets.
Earlier this year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Binosto to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis. This month pharmacies started to stock the product.
A Swiss company, EffRx Pharmaceuticals, developed the effervescent formulation based on an agreement with Merck. Binosto is a strawberry-flavored effervescent tablet containing alendronate 70 milligrams that rapidly dissolves in plain room temperature water.
You still have to follow special fasting and upright posture instructions for taking Binosto:
Binosto is taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach once weekly. To prepare the solution for drinking, you drop one Binosto tablet into a glass holding about 4 ounces of plain room temperature water. Wait at least 5 minutes after the fizzing stops, stir for about 10 seconds (thousand 1, thousand 2, thousand 3…) Then drink it all down.
You must wait one half an hour before taking any food, drinks, or other medicines. During this time you also must remain upright.
Binosto has all the same side effect profile and warnings as the tablet alendronate.
One additional warning is the sodium content in the effervescent tablet, which contains 650 milligram sodium. That is half of the 1300 milligram recommended daily sodium intake for everyone over 50. If you are restricting sodium intake because a history of heart failure, high blood pressure, or other cardiovascular problems, this may not be an good choice for you.
Binosto is packaged in blister packs containing 4 or 12 tablets for a one- or three- month supply. In the US, Mission Pharmacal is marketing the product.
Talk with your doctor or healthcare professional about your options for decreasing your risk of breaking a bone.
Image courtesy of EffRx Pharm