What is Actonel (Risedronate Sodium)?

Actonel is an oral medication which contains the active ingredient risedronate sodium. Risedronate belongs to the class of bisphosphonates, and is indicated to treat or prevent bone loss, also referred to as osteoporosis, in adults. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become brittle and thinner, making individuals more susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis is brought about by menopause, prolonged steroid use, or Paget’s disease. The risk of osteoporosis also rises with age.

Actonel (Risedronate Sodium)

Prescription Required.

Product of Canada.

Shipped from Canada.

Prescription Required.Product of Canada.Shipped from Canada.

What is Actonel (Risedronate Sodium)?

Actonel is an oral medication which contains the active ingredient risedronate sodium. Risedronate belongs to the class of bisphosphonates, and is indicated to treat or prevent bone loss, also referred to as osteoporosis, in adults. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become brittle and thinner, making individuals more susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis is brought about by menopause, prolonged steroid use, or Paget’s disease. The risk of osteoporosis also rises with age.

How does Actonel work?

Risedronate enhances bone mineral thickness by decelerating the cells responsible for breaking down bone, also referred to as osteoclasts. As a result, the cells responsible for creating bone are made more efficient. These cells are also referred to as osteoblasts. The ingredient in Actonel reduces the high bone turnover typically observed in osteoporosis after menopause.


Actonel comes in the following doses, indicated as follows:

  • 5mg- This is the daily dose used for osteoporosis
  • 30mg- This is the daily dose for those suffering from Paget’s disease
  • 35mg- This is the weekly dose used for osteoporosis
  • 75mg- This is the bi-monthly dose used for osteoporosis
  • 150mg- This is the monthly dose used for osteoporosis

How to take Actonel?

Actonel should be taken as prescribed by your doctor.

Actonel is to be taken as soon as you wake up on an empty stomach. Do not take this medication before you go to sleep or while still in bed in the morning. Take Actonel with a glass of water and not with any other beverage. Do not chew or suck on the tablet; swallow it whole. After taking Actonel, stay upright for at least 30 minutes. You can sit, stand, or walk during these 30 minutes, but it is imperative that you remain in an upright position. Staying upright will help this medication reach your stomach faster, lowering the risk of any oesophageal irritation. You must wait at least 30 minutes before taking your first food, drink, or any other medication for the day after taking Actonel. You must wait at least 2 hours to take Actonel if you take it after eating or drinking anything apart from plain water. Food and drinks, besides water, will lower the amount of absorbed medication by the body.

If you take Actonel weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly make sure you choose a day that best fits your lifestyle. It is recommended to take it on the same day each time. It is recommended that Actonel is taken regularly to reap its benefits.

  • To prevent osteoporosis in women past their menopause, taking 5mg daily or 35mg weekly is recommended.
  • To treat osteoporosis in women past their menopause, taking 5mg daily or 35mg weekly is recommended. Patients can also take 75mg consecutively each month or 150mg monthly.
  • To treat osteoporosis in men, taking 35mg weekly is recommended.
  • To prevent osteoporosis brought by prolonged corticosteroid use, taking 5mg daily is recommended.
  • For Paget’s disease sufferers, taking 30mg daily is recommended.

Doctors may prescribe a different dosage than the ones listed above. Consult your doctor on how to take Actonel.

Calcium and Vitamin D contribute highly to bone strength and growth. Therefore, taking calcium and vitamin D supplements alongside Actonel may be recommended. This is if you are not getting enough from your diet already. Your doctor can recommend blood tests to determine this. Vitamin D and calcium are usually found in milk and dairy products. If you take calcium and vitamin D supplements, avoid taking them with Actonel. You must wait 30 minutes or longer until you do so.

How to store Actonel?

Actonel should be stored in a closed container at room temperature, protected from light, heat, or moisture, and kept out of reach of children.


Lowered calcium and phosphorus serum levels can be caused by risedronate overdose. Hypercalcemia can also occur. If you suspect overdosing on this medication, drink a glass of milk and seek medical assistance. Symptoms of risedronate overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness and tingling sensation around your lower, upper limbs, and face
  • Tremor
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A feeling of passing out

Contact the poison control center or call 911 for immediate medical assistance in such cases.

Side effects

Speak to your doctor if you start experiencing any of the following side effects.

Common side effects of Actonel include:

  • indigestion
  • stomach cramps
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • mild backache and joint pain
  • cough
  • fever
  • skin rash, blistering, or peeling
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headaches

Serious side effects

  • Jawbone issues- such as osteonecrosis. Actonel may delay the healing process for mouth or jaw infections. It may be suggested to have dental interventions completed before starting Actonel. You may begin experiencing mouth sores, pain in the jaw or teeth, or tongue inflammation. You may be requested to get a dental x-ray before starting Actonel.
  • Urinary tract symptoms- such as bladder pain, bloody or cloudy urine
  • Femur fracture-This is the long bone found in the thigh. This fracture can be brought about without any trauma. Initial symptoms could be sudden groin, hip, or thigh area pain.
  • Oesophageal issues- such as ulcers. You may experience pain behind the breastbone, also known as the sternum. You may also find it painful or struggle to swallow. Some others have reported developing stomach or intestinal ulcers. You may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite or loss of weight, black stools, blood in stools, or blood in vomit.
  • Bones, joints or muscle pain, and muscle spasms.
  • Hypocalcemia -low levels of calcium. Muscle spasms, twitching muscles, tingling, or numbing sensation in your fingers, toes, or mouth, can all be signs of hypocalcemia.
  • Eye trouble- such as vision changes, red eyes, light sensitivity, and eye pain.

Less common side effects include ringing or pounding sounds in the ears and voice changes.

Precautions and Warnings

Do not take Actonel with another risedronate-containing medication.

If you suffer from issues with your oesophageal muscles, Actonel is not recommended. These muscles connect your mouth and stomach. Consult your doctor if you have been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus.

If you suffer from malabsorption, kidney disease, have trouble swallowing, suffer from stomach or digestion issues or suffer from dental problems, talk to your doctor.

Consult your doctor if you are on Actonel, and you become or think you may be pregnant.

Do not take Actonel if you are nursing.

Actonel should not be taken by children younger than 18 years.

Drug Interactions

The benefits of Actonel may be lessened if it is taken with Calcium, Magnesium, or iron supplements and aluminum medication. Therefore, be sure to leave at least an interval of 30 minutes from when you take Actonel and these medicines.

The following are some medications that interact with risedronate:

  • Quinapril- used to lower blood pressure and increase the amount of blood and oxygen directed to the heart
  • Didanosine-used to treat HIV
  • Sucralfate- used for duodenal ulcers
  • Bismuth subsalicylate- used to treat indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and other gastrointestinal tract discomforts
  • Aminoglycoside antibiotics like gentamicin and tobramycin- used to treat aerobic gram-negative bacterial infections
  • Antacids like aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide- used to relieve heartburn
  • Deferasirox- used to treat elevated iron levels in the blood
  • H2 antagonists like ranitidine- used to treat duodenal ulcers
  • NSAIDs like diclofenac and Ibuprofen- used to relieve pain, inflammation, and high temperature
  • Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole and lansoprazole- used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Systemic Angiogenesis inhibitors like vandetanib and pazopanib- used to treat certain types of cancers
  • Aspirin- used as a blood thinner and helps relieve aches and fever
  • Diuretics such as bumetanide and furosemide- Used to reduce the amount of sodium and water in your body
  • Hormone replacement therapy- used to sed to replace estrogen
  • Lithium- used to stabilize mood disorders
  • Oral steroids like dexamethasone and prednisone- used to reduce inflammation and lower the immune system’s activity
  • Sirolimus or tacrolimus- Immunosuppressive agents used in patients who receive an organ transplant
  • Olsalazine-used to treat ulcerative colitis

Other drugs, supplements, or herbal medication can interact with risedronate; therefore, it is suggested that you give your doctor a comprehensive picture of your lifestyle, habits, and any drugs you may be on.

Other interactions

Bisphosphonates, like risedronate, may interact with bone-imaging agents. Therefore, informing your healthcare provider before carrying out a scan is essential.


The drug found in Actonel is contraindicated in adults with:

  • A known allergy or hypersensitivity to risedronate
  • A known allergy or hypersensitivity to any of Actonel’s excipients
  • Abnormalities of the oesophageal passage, delay in oesophageal emptying, usually referred to as achalasia
  • Hypocalcemia
  • The inaptitude to stand for 30 minutes
  • Parathyroid hormone abnormalities as this can lead to low calcium levels

Frequently Asked Questions

If you realize you missed your dose, wait until the following day to take your next dose for daily Actonel doses. Do not take Actonel later in the day. Instead, take the missed dose for weekly or monthly doses first thing in the morning on the day you remember. Then, return to your regular dosage regime. Do not take two doses at once to make up for the missed one.

Smoking may affect your bone density, making you more susceptible to bone fractures. Try to avoid smoking or quit altogether.

Do not take two different strengths of Actonel and stick to what the doctor has prescribed.

Communicate with your dentist about your drug history. Long-term use of Actonel may cause complications during dental surgery or tooth extractions. Therefore, you may be advised to discontinue Actonel if you require dental surgery. In addition, your dentist may recommend being extra careful with your dental hygiene while on Actonel. For example, you may be recommended to start flossing alongside your usual dental care routine to reduce the risk of requiring dental interventions or acquiring jaw infections.

Actonel starts to take effect within 14 days, but it may take up to 6 months to reach its maximum results.

You may need bone density scans to monitor disease progression if taking Actonel to treat osteoporosis. Your doctor may also suggest blood tests to measure your calcium levels.

Two or more drugs interacting together does not necessarily mean you must stop taking one or more of them. Instead, your doctor may suggest you stop, change one medication, or change how you take all of them.

If you stop taking Actonel, you may start to experience loss of bone mass. Speak to your doctor before you stop this medication.

Make sure to take the prescribed dosage of Actonel, as different doses are used for various medical conditions. You must take Actonel on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and avoid lying down for 30 minutes after taking the medication. Avoid drinking or eating anything else for the first 30 minutes after taking Actonel. This includes taking other medicines or supplements.

It would be best to discuss any lifestyle habits, including smoking and alcohol consumption, with your doctor. In addition, if you take any other prescription, herbal, or over-the-counter drugs and supplements, your doctor should be informed.

If you take more than what your doctor prescribed, you may overdose on Actonel. If you experience confusion, convulsions, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, numbness, or tremor, seek immediate medical attention.

Actonel is indicated for treating and preventing osteoporosis. However, men can also suffer from this condition and be prescribed Actonel.

Actonel comes in a tablet form. Therefore, it should not be chewed or sucked on but swallowed with a full glass of plain water.

Yes, Actonel is a prescription-only medication; a doctor should always be consulted before taking such medicines.

Actonel is prescribed as the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis; however, it can yield optimal results when taken alongside healthy lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise, adequate testing, and any additional supplementation.