Update on alendronate for osteoporosis: Once-weekly dosing

Thomas J Schnitzer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Alendronate (Fosamax®, Merck & Co.) is now available in a 70 mg formulation to be taken once a week for osteoporosis. Earlier studies demonstrated that alendronate is highly effective for increasing bone density, reducing bone turnover rate and reducing the risk of fractures. A subsequent clinical trial reported that the once-weekly dosing regimen is therapeutically equivalent to the daily regimen. Administering alendronate (70 mg) once a week effectively provides continuous inhibition of bone resorption because bone resorption by osteoclasts is a slow process that typically requires 2 - 3 weeks for completion and alendronate remains at active bone remodelling sites for a sustained period and (when present in sufficient concentration) effectively inhibits bone resorption. Bisphosphonates are currently the pre-eminent therapy for osteoporosis. Once-weekly alendronate represents a major advance in convenience because oral bisphosphonates must be taken in the fasting state with water at least 30 minutes before consuming food or beverages. Sales data several months after introduction of once-weekly alendronate into the marketplace demonstrate rapid and extensive acceptance of this new regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1461-1472
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 19 2001


  • Alendronate
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weekly dosing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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