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Fosamax vs. Forteo

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Fosamax and Forteo the Same Thing?

Fosamax (alendronate sodium) and Forteo (teriparatide [rDNA origin]) are used to treat and prevent osteoporosis.

Fosamax is also used to treat Paget's disease.

Fosamax and Forteo belong to different drug classes. Fosamax is a bisphosphonate and Forteo is a synthetic parathyroid hormone.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Fosamax?

Common side effects of Fosamax include:

  • gas,
  • constipation,
  • heartburn,
  • diarrhea,
  • bloating,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • stomach pain,
  • joint pain or swelling,
  • swelling in your hands or feet,
  • dizziness,
  • headache,
  • eye pain,
  • back pain, or
  • weakness.

Serious side effects of Fosamax include:

  • severe pain (joints, bone, muscle, jaw, back or heartburn),
  • chest pain,
  • difficulty swallowing,
  • bloody stools,
  • eye pain,
  • skin blisters, and
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Forteo?

Common side effects of Forteo include:

  • muscle cramps or spasms,
  • leg cramps,
  • joint pain,
  • cough,
  • sore throat,
  • runny nose,
  • headache,
  • neck pain,
  • nausea,
  • constipation,
  • diarrhea, or
  • injection site reactions (pain, swelling, bruising, itching, or redness).

Tell your doctor if you have unlikely but serious side effects of Forteo including:

  • fainting,
  • unusual tiredness, or
  • mental/mood changes (such as confusion).

What is Fosamax?

Fosamax (alendronate sodium) is a bisphosphonate that is a specific inhibitor of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption used to both treat and prevent osteoporosis, and to treat Paget's disease.

What is Forteo?

Forteo (teriparatide [rDNA origin]) Injection is a man-made form of parathyroid hormone that exists naturally in the body used to treat osteoporosis in men and women who have a high risk of bone fracture.

What Drugs Interact With Fosamax?

Fosamax may interact with aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

What Drugs Interact With Forteo?

Forteo may interact with digoxin.

How Should Fosamax Be Taken?

Fosamax is available in a tablet or oral liquid form. Each bottle of the oral solution contains 91.35 mg of alendronate monosodium salt trihydrate, which is the molar equivalent to 70 mg of the drug. The recommended initial dosage is one 70 mg molar equivalent tablet or oral liquid bottle once weekly or one 10 mg molar equivalent tablet per day. Fosamax must be taken at least one-half hour before the first food, beverage, or medication of the day with plain water only to avoid any reduction in gastrointestinal adsorption.

How Should Forteo Be Taken?

The recommended dose of Forteo is 20 mcg subcutaneously once a day.

Reviewed on 7/9/2018

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP SOURCE:

FDA. Fosamax Medication Guide.

Lilly USA. Forteo Product Information.

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