Actonel is a pill for treatment and prevention of Osteoporosis. It is taken monthly (or weekly) on an empty stomach followed by at least 8 ounces of water. No other food or drink is allowed for at least half an hour. Actonel is one of the Bisphosphonates and has all of the potential benefits and risks of that class. The most common problems are heartburn, GERD and esophagus and stomach issues.
Actonel had been used in a few patients with rare cases of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) and Atypical Fractures of the Femur. There is not yet any conclusive evidence that Actonel, or any other Antiresorptive or Bisphosphonate, causes these conditions.
Actonel is an Oral Bisphosphonate and has the same safety and effectiveness issues as others in this class. Read about these issues in the sections about Antiresorptives, Bisphosphonates, and Oral Bisphosphonates.
Actonel is usually effective for preserving bone and preventing osteoporosis in patients who can tolerate it. Remember that it only works if you take enough Calcium and Vitamin D.
The makers of Actonel have just come out with an enteric coated pill which should solve the problem of Heartburn and GERD. More on this after I learn more about it.
Jay Ginther, MD
2008 / Revised April 2011