Anyone taking Alendronic Acid and Calcichew

I have just been prescribed to take Alendronic Acid and Calcichew D3.
I read that Alendronic Acid cant be chewed or crushed, I cant swallow tabs unless they are very small.
How big are they? Also read that you have to stand for 30mins after taking. Is this correct and how are you coping and what side effects have you experienced?

Hi Fudgey…yes I am taking both these tablets as my DEXA scan showed I have osteoporosis of the hips and spine’

The Alendronic Acid tablets aren’t huge, and are a sort of flattened oval shape, so they are quite easy to swallow. You have to take them with a large glass of water. They are about the size of a lozenge-shaped paracetemol, if you know what I mean!

The reason you have to keep upright for half an hour after taking them, is that they can burn the gullet, so you need to take them with the water and remain standing or sitting but NOT lying down.

The calcium tablets I take are one-a-day and can be chewed or sucked, just as well, 'cos they are quite big!

I haven’t noticed any side effects so far and I’ve been taking them for 6 weeks.


Worried that the Alandronic acid I wont be able to swallow.
Does anyone know if it can be given in any other form?

Hi Fudgey,
I have been on Alendronic Acid, once weekly and Calcichew/Vit.D3, two tablets a day, for 3 yrs or so now, after a DEXA scan showed significant bone density loss since starting Arimidex 4 yrs ago and now classed osteopenic. I already had a baseline DEXA scan done before I was dx with bc in Jan 2003, as I have Crohn’s and 30+ yrs of steroids had already depleted my bones. Arimidex increased the loss, and the joint pains were affecting my quality of life, so I stopped it 6 weeks ago, and the hip and foot pain has diminished. I am waiting to see a new Onc for alternative meds to Arimidex as mine retired last year. Perhaps Fosamax or Aromasin - willing to try anything else as I broke bones in both feet last year, just by standing up from a chair (it was 10 am so I wasn’t intoxicated!), and dread a hip fracture.

Alendronate size: - just got the ruler out and they are one and a half cms by one cm. As far as I know, alendronate only comes in tablets, but there are other bisphosphonates that are given by infusions, 3 monthly and annually I think, but suspect these are only prescribed for bone mets, which thankfully I don’t have. Zometa may be one of them, not sure. Try googling bisphosphonates, there is a wealth of information there.

I hate taking alendronic acid, as I relish my early morning cup of tea - you can only drink plain water, no tea,coffee, juice etc. As justme said above, you don’t have to stand up, I usually sit at my computer with the pathetic glass of water and the 30 mins goes quite quickly.

I guess you could ask your Onc if there are any alternatives he can prescribe as an infusion - you may just get lucky!

Take care and hope all goes well - perhaps try cutting the tablets in half if you find the whole tablet too difficult swallow?

Fosamax is the same as alendronic acid - it is now out of patent.

Oh my goodness.
I shall never be able to swallow them that size. Thank you for taking the time to measure them. I believe they are to be swallowed whole and mustn’t be crushed.
I am so fed up with this, why isn’t anything straightforward for me.
I am to go to the doctor tomorrow to get my prescription, and will explain my dilemna to him. Though i don’t hold out much hope for a solution.
Thanks foryour concern, I will let you know how I get on. Has anyone else had by injection?

Alendonic Acid can not be crushed or chewed and they are not available as a liquid. They have a coating on them which makes them easier to swallow. They have to be taken 30 minutes before food, preferably breakfast and you have to sit upright or stand for 30 minutes after. They have to be taken with plenty of water. The reason for all of this is that the can be very corrosive to the food pipe. I would give them a go before you dismiss the idea - you may not find them too bad to swallow, just a bit of a palavar!! The alternative usually prescribed is called Stontium which are ganules - usually given at bedtime as you have to avoid food for 2 hours either side of taken the dose. This tends to have more side-effects than alendronic acid and has to be taken daily rather than weekly. Hope this is of some use - its been some time since I put on my pharmacist head rather than my BC patient head!!
Calcichew are ok to swallow as the are chewed but apparently have a horrible texture.

good luck

must be chemo brain…I meant to say Femara or Aromasin…thanks for the correction.

I find Calcichew quite yummy…I had a stroke some 3 yrs ago, fell backwards on my head with a haemotoma between my skull and brain and can’t smell or taste anything. Funny thing is when chopping onions, I can’t smell them, but my eyes water. Go figure eh?

I take Calichew D3 and I love the lemon taste of them. :smiley:

Hi Fudgey

I can so identify with you as I have never been able to swallow tablets and I am 56!!

I too have been ‘diagnosed’ with osteoporosis in the spine and was told to take Alendronic Acid. I do take Calcichew D3 but have decided not to take the Alendronic Acid as I read a fascinating book, The Myth of Osteoporosis which really made me think. How is it that one in two women over 50 now have ‘osteoporosis’ whereas it used to be a diagnosis for elderly ladies who had fractured? It is because we all have DEXA scans which ‘tell’ us that we have this condition. It is possible that most of us will never fracture and that those with so called correct bone density will fracture. Its all to do with whether its in the family, eating well and exercise. Anyway, so far I have no fractures even though I fell over the stair gate and landed with a huge whack on my left hip!

Good luck with your decision, Grace

Hi Fudgey,

I’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis and I take a bisphosphonate called Bonviva,you only have to take it once a month. You do have to remain upright (but you can sit down) for an hour after taking it but it’s still less hassle than the weekly ones. I took my monthly dose today so can only measure next month’s through the foil ‘bubble’ but the length of the ‘bubble’ is no more than 1cm and it’s quite narrow, so much smaller than the alendronic acid. Worth asking your GP about it. I also take Calcichews, twice a day, and as I’m trying to stick to a diet I look on them as my twice daily treat!!

I’ve had no side effects from either of these, and as I fractured my wrist last year (before the osteoporosis was diagnosed) I definitely think they’re well worth taking, I wouldn’t want to go through that again!

Good luck.
Carol x

Hi I take alendronic acid & Calcichew and also had trouble swallowing Alendronic Acid tablets but now i have a different make of this tablet it is smaller than an a Aspirin theis TEVA UK LTD if you can get these taking them will be easy Lillian

If you find alendronic acid tablets too big, maybe you can ask for Risondrate/Actonel instead. This is what I take for osteopenia and they are quite small and torpedo shaped.

The bonus of taking bisphonates as far as I’m concerned, is that there some evidence that they could also be a help in preventing a BC recurrence. The trials are still ongoing but my onc confirmed that they are looking into it and it was a good idea to stay on them.

Hi -Roberta love the cat. I have just collected my repeat prescription for alendronic acid tablets and have been given some from Radiopharm These are much smaller than the TEVa brand which I have usually had. I have also heard about the ongoing research re preventing a reoccurence. For now am pleased that my poor old bones hopefully will not deteriorate. Jackie

Hi All had an appt with my Onc last Tues. I had been a bit confused as to why I was having Alendronic acid as my DEXA scan showed osteopenia in Lumbar 1-3 but hips OK.He asked if I had read a Daily Mail article published recently and I hadn’t. He went on to say in 'his network’they have reviewed the criteria for prescribing it and he said on that basis I am borderline (again have been borderline for most BC treatments so far)and it was up to me if I wanted to keep taking it.I am seeing him again in Jan and he says we will review it then.Meanwhile the trial I mentioned has finished but results not yet collated.Thought I would share this with you but not sure how much it helps any of us.Jackie

I asked my oncologist also on thursday about taking a low dose aspirin ( for prevention of thrombosis) and calcium tablets ( to prevent osteoporosis ) and she said about some recent research and an article that said calcium tablets could cause stomach cancer and also aspirin can cause bleeding and ulceration of the stomach also and i know these things can come with their own complications so she advised against them and just to includ plenty Dairy foods , keep to 5 a day and regular exercise. So dont know what to do now. julie

Crikey it never ends does it?Not heard those comments about the calcium, Julie thanks for posting. I was already doing 5 a day and loads of exercise etc and still got BC and I do not have yellow wellies lol Jackie

ha ha Jackie i dont either but have been known to talk to the cows so i guess its just pot luck ha ha xx

I’ve just got my first bottle of Alendronic Acid Oral Solution. Have difficulty in swallowing tablets and my lovely doctor looked it up and found it comes as Oral Solution but costs about £10 per month more than the tablets which is why they don’t prescribe it! I offered to pay for it privately, but as I say, he is a lovely doctor! It comes in 70mg bottles and is disbributed by Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Leeds. MA Holder (whatever that is) is Xeolas Paharmaceuticals Ltd, 97 Furry Park Road, Killestr, Dublin 5, Ireland.
So if anyone tries to tell you it doesn’t exist, you can track it down and prove them wrong!