Actonel (risedronate sodium) has been available since 1998 for the prevention and/or treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Now, as of June 11, 2014 the FDA has approved the first generic risedronate—and you’ll be able to find it on pharmacy shelves this month.
What is postmenopausal osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to weakened bones, which can result in pain, fractured bones, or broken bones. After menopause, the female body does not produce as much estrogen as it used to. This is important because estrogen is a key hormone in the structure of your bones. Unfortunately, post-menopause, the new bone building process slows down and your body is not able to keep up with the active breakdown of bone.
Osteoporosis is referred to as the “silent disease” because many people do not realize they have a problem with their bones until a fracture or broken bone occurs, so you may not see many symptoms before being diagnosed.
What are the risk factors for developing osteoporosis?
- Age and gender: Women who are 50 years of age and older are at greatest risk
- Race: Caucasian and Asian women are at greatest risk
- Bone structure and body weight: Petite and thin women and men are at greatest risk
- Family history
When will generic risedronate be available?
Generic manufacturers Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Apotex Pharmaceuticals, and Actavis Pharmaceuticals all currently have generic risedronate readily available.
At this time, only the 150 mg tablet is available as generic risedronate. The other risedronate strengths have various patent expiration dates through 2023, though some generic manufacturers are fighting to make them available sooner.
How will generic risedronate usually be taken?
The 150 mg tablet is taken once monthly. Other strengths of brand name Actonel may be taken once daily, once weekly, or twice monthly.
What kind of side effects are common?
Upset stomach and heartburn are the most common side effects.
- Swallow tablet whole (DO NOT crush or chew)
- Take with 6 to 8 ounces of plain water 30 minutes before your first food, drink, or medication of the day
- DO NOT lie down for 30 minutes after taking this medication
- Take with additional calcium and vitamin D if you are not getting enough from diet alone