Fosamax (Alendronate) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Fosamax
Fosamax is prescribed to prevent or treat osteoporosis in men and women that is caused due to steroid use or menopause. The generic name of the drug is Alendronate, which belongs to a group of drugs known as bisphosphonates. The drug changes the cycle of bone formation and lowers the activity of the cells that break down the bone. Thus, it effectively slows down bone loss while working to increase bone mass. The medication can be effective to prevent bone fractures. However, you need to consult your doctor before you buy Fosamax.
Side Effects for Fosamax
Some people may experience side effects after taking the recommended dose of Fosamax. You may experience constipation, gas, stomach pain, or nausea. You should immediately notify your doctor if any side effects persist for a long time or worsen. Some people may also experience serious side effects such as jaw pain, severe muscle/joint pain, swelling of the joints/feet/hands/ankles, black stools, and dark colored vomit. You should immediately seek medical attention if you notice or experience severe side effects after taking Fosamax.
You should not take Fosamax if you are allergic to bisphosphonates. Talk to your doctor if you have any allergies before he/she recommends a dose of Fosamax. The drug should not be used if you have specific medical conditions such as severe swallowing problems, kidney disease, low calcium levels, disorders of the esophagus, or an inability to sit upright or stand for at least 30 minutes. If you are having a surgery, you should inform the doctor about your Alendronate use. Your doctor may ask you to stop the dosage of Fosamax before surgery. You should consult your doctor before starting the dose of the drug prior to surgery. It is necessary that you buy Fosamax and use it only after consulting your doctor.
The dosage of Fosamax is available in both a tablet and solution form that is taken orally once a week. You should choose a day of the week when it is convenient for you to take the medication and take the dose on the same day each week. The drug is to be taken orally before breakfast and before your first medication. You should consume at least 2 ounces of water after taking the recommended dose.
You should stay in an upright position at least 30 minutes after taking the drug. You can sit, stand or walk after taking the dose, but do not lie down until you eat your first meal of the day. You can eat your first food of the day after 30 minutes or preferably after 1 or 2 hours after taking the medication. You should not take this medication before rising for the day or at bedtime as the drug may not get absorbed properly and may cause serious esophageal side effects. It is necessary that you consult your doctor before you buy Fosamax to treat osteoporosis.
Fosamax may interact with different drugs and cause side-effects. Your doctor should have information about every medication you take, which includes prescribed, non-prescribed and herbal medicines. The drug may interact with medications that contain aspirin. Fosamax may also react with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.