Bisphosphonates are a class of medications that can prevent loss of bone mass.

Bone is replaced on a cellular level quite often.

Certain cells help in this process such as: osteoblasts and osteoclasts.


Uses of this medication include:


Method of Action

  • Slows down the breakdown of bone

Two classifications of medicine

1.)  N-containing bisphosphonates

2.)  Non N-containing bisphosphonates


N-containing bisphosphonates

  • Bind to enzymes necessary for breakdown of bone and cause a block of that enzymes activity

.   Sodium Alendronate  [Fosamax]

  • Given 10mg every day or
  • Given 70mg once a week

.   Risedronate   [Actonel]

  • Given 5mg every day or
  • Given 35mg once a week

.   Ibandronate  [Boniva

  • Given once a mont

.   Zoledronic Acid  [Zoledronate, Zometa]

  • Given different doses depending on diagnosis
  • Used in patients with cancers such as multiple myeloma and prostate cancer to prevent cancer

.   Pamidronate   [Aredia]

.   Neridronate

.   Olpadronate

Non N-containing bisphosphonates

  • Are metabolised in cells and transformed into compounds that affect bone destruction

.   Etidronate  [Didronel]

.   Tiludronic  [Skelid]

.   Clodronate

Side Effects

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritation of esophagus
  • Necrosis of jaw
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • others
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