The below information on Actonel has been taken from official FDA sources, but we cannot guarantee it's accuracy. Please use this site for educational purposes only. This site does not replace a proper discussion with your doctor.

    Brand Name:Actonel
    Generic:Risedronate Sodium
This drug was approved by the FDA in one form or another on:
1998-03-27 ,
This drug is made in one form or another by the following companies:
Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals
This drug is available in the following forms:
View the actual FDA approved label for this drug at the following links:

About Actonel

Actonel is used to treat Paget’s disease of the bone.
Actonel is also used to prevent and treat:

  • postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in men and women

Precautions for Actonel

Tell your doctor if you have a history of stomach problems because Actonel can cause difficulty swallowing, inflammation of the esophagus, esophageal ulcer, and stomach ulcer.

If you have a bone-imaging test, tell your doctor or technician you are taking Actonel because it can interfere with the test.

Side Effects of Actonel

Side effects of Actonel are generally mild to moderate and do not require stopping the treatment.

The following is a listing of the most common side effects:

  • flu syndrome
  • chest pain
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal
  • pain nausea
  • constipation
  • swelling
  • joint pain
  • headache
  • dizziness rash

Who Should Not Take Actonel

You should not take Actonel if you:

  • have low calcium levels in the blood
  • have bone or mineral problems that have not been treated by your health care provider
  • have severe kidney problems
  • are unable to stand or sit up for at least 30 minutes.
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Recent Forum Posts on Actonel

med dilemma

Hi Everyone, Just joined the site today. I am a 69 year old female with osteoporosis in hip and spine. Hip not so bad. Spine terrible. No fractures and spine is straight. Only 3/4" loss of height. I am active, work out 2-3 times a week at the gym and walk a lot,etc. Now my Dr. said that my dexa scan shows a very high risk for fracture. So of course, i am walking on eggs afraid to sneeze or cough for fear of fracture. Afraid of shots, or infusions and so I would like to try Actonel, but of course i do get gerd from time to time. Does anyone know if you can take something to protect your stomach against this while you are on actonel. Would appreciate any info anyone can share.Thank you, Rozzi

actonel and Leukemia

Has anyone been diagnosed with Leukemia after taking monthly Actonel?

Actonel/knee pain/help!!!

My mom is 84 years old and has always been extremely active, that is until she started taking Actonel, 2 years ago. She has extreme knee pain....all xrays, mri's show no arthritis, all in her head! NOT, after reading all the info I could on the net, I'm taking her off of it asap, and replacing with 1000 mg calcium. This is a ridiculous drug, and perhaps a class action suit need to be filed.

Actonel - pain

I and 52 with osteoporosis in the hips and osteopenia in the the spine. Took fosamax for one year and some improvment made. Fosamax caused bone and muscle pain but Doctor said nothing could be done about it. Switched to Actonel and have taken it for one year. I suffer every day from pain in my back, stiffness all over. When I lay down or sit it takes time to stand up - I feel like an old lady. I never felt like this before taking the medication. I have always been active - snowboarding, golf, hiking, camping and only when I started this medication I started complaining like an old crabby lady. I feel robbed but I won't give up. I still golf, snowboard, camp, hike, etc. but not free from pain, stiffness and generally not feeling well. I hope these types of medication improve someday so that there are no bad side effects.


I am a 41 year old female who has been prescribed Actonel. All the info I've read indicates this drug for menopausal women. Is this drug safe for me since I still have regular periods? Also, am I to continue to take Calcium and Magnesium supplements. I know I should avoid taking them for at least 30 minutes after Actonel but need to know if I should take them at all.

long-term use

To Gail. Yes I have been on Actonel for a number of years. I am bi-polar, so side effects overlap! I too had a complete hysterectomy in 1980 and suffered a lot of symptoms Hard to regulate HRT.
Actonel is not a favorite drug to take since I have acid reflux, but do it anyway. My doctor is always pleased to see the improvements in bone density tests each year. It seems to take a long time to dissolve even with drinking water and standing, etc. Just feel kinda sick and bloated. I have night sweats (even in cold weather, and freeze during the day! I live in florida!!!)
If this next bdt tests comes back good, I too would like to get off Actonel for awhile. It is hard for me to swallow, and I use Viactive candy, but forget most of the time!! I do get calcium in other foods. I am seeing an endocrnologist this week!! Wonder what he will find???

No Subject

i am going to start my first dose of actonel this week.
im almost 36 and had a hysterectomy at 30, so was thrown into early menopause and now i have had bone loss and alot in my spine according to the doctor. this medication costs alot for 4 stinkin little pills, so ill keep ya posted on whats up...


I took Actonel only once. The first day, I had nausea. The second day I had pain in my back and severe stomach pain. I will never take it again. I am going to take 1800 mg calcium and 400 mg of D and exercise.
Why can't they invent a medicine that doesn't make us sick or feel awful !!!!


I've now taken two doses of the weekly form of actonel and have noticed an increase in hot flashes and some joint soreness. I'm wondering about the phrase "postmenopausal." When asked by the nurse in my doctor's office if I was postmenopausal I said yes. I had a total hysterectomy almost 20 years ago and have been on hrt ever since. I'd been experiencing some hot flashes at night but that was my only symptom. Since starting this med, though, I'm feeling very menopausal. Anyone else experienced this? I don't see anything about these symptoms being listed in possible side effects. I had the medicine prescribed while I was in the States recently but am now back in my home in Hungary. Guess I'll have to make some phone calls both here and there.

No Subject

My mother-in-law took two of the weekly doses of Actonel. She is 86 years old. She started vomiting blood and bled from rectum also. Came very close to dieing. Received 7 units of blood. Put tube down her throat to look at her stomach- She had a huge bleeding ulcer in her stomach. They finally got the bleeding to stop. Spent 1 week in hospital. Will take weeks to get her strength back. Wife taking care of her now! This is a dangerous drug! Needs to be taken off the market. I will be contacting Procter and Gamble. Also looking into taking legal action! They use people as guinea pigs- It's not ethical. If your on this drug I'd recommend you stop immediatly.

join pain and sore muscle

I have been on actonel for 5 months.for one month now I have been off of it. I was having joint and muscle pain and weekness. I want to know how long will it be before I know if the drug has been causing this ?

Actonel PAIN!

I am a healthy, active 53-yr-old woman.I've been taking Actonel for 6 weeks and until now the only side effect I've had has been a little stomach queasiness, which was tolerable. Four days ago,however, I developed some lower back pain and muscle pain from my waist down into my thighs. Each day the pain has gotten worse until today I can barely walk. Just shifting my weight causes extreme pain. I will not take any more of this drug. However, does anyone have any idea how long this side effect may last? I will be calling my doctors for help with the pain tomorrow (Monday), although I don't know if they will believe me that Actonel is the cause. I feel as though I am suddenly crippled. I would appreciate any input you can give me.


I have been taking actonel for about 3 years. Besides GERD and many other intestinal problems(hiatel hernia, diverticulosis etc.) I also take a multitude of other medicines methotextrate, prilosec baby aspirin, three meds for high blood pressure.Have never had a problem except with the awful packaging of this product (actonel), it is impossible to get open. My rhematologist recommends taking all my meds on an empty stomach, then eat. As a result my stomach no longer hurts after ingesting all my pills. I am 65 years old and have been diagnosed with many types of arthritis.

Joint pain and hotflashes

I started taking actonal about 12 weeks ago. I read the material that listed possible symptoms. I am not much of a pill person. I occasionaly take ibuprophin and I also take strattera (adhd). About four or five weeks ago I started noticing pain in my right elbow. At first I thought it was because I had joined a bowling league and that I had strained my elbow. The pain continued, however, after the league was over. Last week I asked my doctor and she just told me that this was symptoms of the OA. However, the pain came on very suddenly, and though I have had joint pain in the past (in other areas) it has never been like this. It was and is pretty intense....and I have a very high tolerance to pain. After reading the information posted here, I am somewhat concerned about the pain. It gets worse if I try to lift something or if I move my arm suddenly. Bending it and straightening it both hurt, and if feels very very stiff. The pain shoots up and down my arm. In addition, and as an after thought, I am menapausal...I noticed that others here have discribed an increase in hot flashes....I have also noticed such. I think I am going to call my doctor and see what she has to say about it...Let me know if anyone else has recently experienced these symptoms. I am so sick of being told it is my age etc...I AM ONLY 40! My doctor also told me that I was unusualy young for now what? I cannot take calcium sups because they all contain shell fish...which I am allergic to...anyone else...please email or reply.

muscle weakness

I am 60 years old. I am taking Actonel and I am excersizing every day for about 30 min. I walk and use various weight equipment at our YMCA, yet I am losing muscle strength daily. Could Actonel be causing this loss of strength?

Is it the Actonel?

I started actonel last October and it's been downhill ever since. A couple of weeks after my first once a week 35mg, I developed severe joint pain in most of my joints. It has continued ever since. My joints are tender to touch. In January my shoulder froze up and I couldn't move it for a few months. Now I have knee pain and find myself limping on some days. The joint pain is continual, steady in some, transient in others. I was put on this drug so it would help my bones, meanwhile my bones are getting worse with each passing day. The tests I've had so far are coming back okay. I haven't had a bone density since last October but I don't need another one to tell my bones are getting worse. I am very concerned about actonel. I keep complaining to my doctor as I feel it may have something to do with the way I'm feeling. He said to boost my calcium and remain on Actonel. I would go off of it on my own, but now I think what if it's not the actonel and I get even worse. I don't know what to do or what to think, I never in my life had so much pain where my bones are concerned, but it's very coincidental that this whole mess started when I started Actonel. May God help me!

Actonel and low blood calcium

I started to take actonel 4 months ago 1 35mg/per week. A week or so later my joints and muscles started to hurt and haven't let up since. I don't know if the joint/muscle pain is related to Actonel. However my blood tests show that my blood calcium levels are low. I've read that you shouldn't take Actonel with low blood calcium. What will happen if I continue taking Actonel with low blood calcium? Can anyone tell me why you shouldn't take this medicine with this condition. Thank you.

Actonel lingering effects

58 y/o female with hx of good health. Took daily Actonel for 28 days in Jan 2003. Experienced aching teeth, frozen jaw, double vision, numbness of forehead, tongue, chin, cheeks, neck, and extremities. Persistant headaches, irregular heartbeat and esophogus spasms. Neck and spine pain. Sensation of being cold throughout my body and my skin was burning. STOPPED TAKING ACTONEL!! After 5 months I started to feel like my health was coming back and I again had some energy. RESUMED TAKING ACTONEL in Jun 2003. Within two or three days all of the above symptoms began to return. STOPPED ACTONEL AGAIN....AND FOREVER. Now, a year plus later I continue to have problems with no energy, low immunity, and my lower legs constantly feel like they are frozen. I've had CAT scans, EMGs, nerve conductions, MRIs, heart tests, spinal taps and much more. My internist, 3 neurologists and a cardiologist find nothing wrong with me. I am anxious to learn if anyone else has experienced similar problems AND have you found a way to get rid of the numbness and tingling. I'm becoming desperate for an answer and tired of proping my feet on an electric space heater when the house temperature is 75 degrees. Of the 48 or so adverse reactions listed on the prescription packing list, I could identify with roughly 36 of them. While my doctor does not have knowledge of widespread problems with Actonel, she too, is convinced my problems all relate to having taken the Actonel. I would have never known the reason for the problems if I had not stopped taking the drug for four months and then starting it again. I am anxious for anyone who has suffered as I have to please respond to this message, especially if you have found a way to have these dreaded symptoms relieved. It is a living hell to have your legs feel like two slabs of frozen meat when the temperature is in the 70's.

No Subject

I am so glad I logged on to this! I am in my 2nd. month with Actonel and am have been having some strange ineplicable symptons. Night sweats, sleeplessness, muscle pain in my thighes, and knee and elbow joint pain.
I am going to copy some of these comments and take them to my Dr. Maybe this wonder drug isn't for everybody!!!

Packaging of Actonel

Your customers must be healthy or they couldn't get the package open.
I just got my new 4 pack and have spent about one half hour trying to get to the first pill as instructed. It is the most impossible packaging I have met in many years of taking medications. This time, I got worn out with the struggle and tore the package apart. It is cute. It looks like it has everything - such a clever way to only take one pill once a week.
You are worn out before you get to the pill. Not to mention the fact that it probably adds quite a bit to the cost of the medication.
There must be an easier (and cheaper) way of getting 4 pills to a consumer.

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