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Fosamax is a primary treatment for osteoporosis, but it can cause burning in the esophagus. A study from Merck and Company shows that it is far less likely to cause stomach burning when given once a week.

If a woman lives long enough, she can expect to develop osteoporosis. Doctors order a special test to measure bone density and if it shows osteoporosis, they usually prescribe Fosamax. Fosamax rarely causes side effects when it reaches the stomach, but if it sticks in the esophagus, it can cause a terrible erosion with pain and burning in the chest or stomach and belching.

Fosamax is less likely to cause these side effects when it is given in a dose of 70 mg once a week, rather than the usual 10 mg once a day. Recent data show that bisphosphonates can weaken bones by delaying the normal restructuring of bones that goes on all the time. Therefore, current recommendations are that a person should not take bisphosphonates for more than three (3) years as they can increase risk for breaking thigh and other bones.

T Schnitzer, HG Bone, G Crepaldi, S Adami, M McClung, D Kiel, D Felsenberg, RR Recker, RP Tonino, C Roux, A Pinchera, AJ Foldes, SL Greenspan, MA Levine, R Emkey, AC Santora, A Kaur, DE Thompson, J Yates, JJ Orloff. Therapeutic equivalence of alendronate 70 mg once-weekly and alendronate 10 mg daily in the treatment of osteoporosis. Aging - Clinical and Experimental Research, 2000, Vol 12, Iss 1, pp 1-12.

Checked 3/3/11

August 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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