Alendronate Sodium (Page 2 of 9)

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Alendronate sodium is contraindicated in patients with the following conditions:

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Upper Gastrointestinal Adverse Reactions

Alendronate sodium, like other bisphosphonates administered orally, may cause local irritation of the upper gastrointestinal mucosa. Because of these possible irritant effects and a potential for worsening of the underlying disease, caution should be used when alendronate sodium is given to patients with active upper gastrointestinal problems (such as known Barrett’s esophagus, dysphagia, other esophageal diseases, gastritis, duodenitis, or ulcers).

Esophageal adverse experiences, such as esophagitis, esophageal ulcers and esophageal erosions, occasionally with bleeding and rarely followed by esophageal stricture or perforation, have been reported in patients receiving treatment with oral bisphosphonates including alendronate sodium. In some cases these have been severe and required hospitalization. Physicians should therefore be alert to any signs or symptoms signaling a possible esophageal reaction and patients should be instructed to discontinue alendronate sodium and seek medical attention if they develop dysphagia, odynophagia, retrosternal pain or new or worsening heartburn.

The risk of severe esophageal adverse experiences appears to be greater in patients who lie down after taking oral bisphosphonates including alendronate sodium and/or who fail to swallow oral bisphosphonates including alendronate sodium with the recommended full glass (6-8 oz) of water, and/or who continue to take oral bisphosphonates including alendronate sodium after developing symptoms suggestive of esophageal irritation. Therefore, it is very important that the full dosing instructions are provided to, and understood by, the patient [see Dosage and Administration (2.6)] . In patients who cannot comply with dosing instructions due to mental disability, therapy with alendronate sodium should be used under appropriate supervision.

There have been post-marketing reports of gastric and duodenal ulcers with oral bisphosphonate use, some severe and with complications, although no increased risk was observed in controlled clinical trials [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)] .

5.2 Mineral Metabolism

Hypocalcemia must be corrected before initiating therapy with alendronate sodium [see Contraindications (4)] . Other disorders affecting mineral metabolism (such as vitamin D deficiency) should also be effectively treated. In patients with these conditions, serum calcium and symptoms of hypocalcemia should be monitored during therapy with alendronate sodium.

Presumably due to the effects of alendronate sodium on increasing bone mineral, small, asymptomatic decreases in serum calcium and phosphate may occur, especially in patients with Paget’s disease, in whom the pretreatment rate of bone turnover may be greatly elevated, and in patients receiving glucocorticoids, in whom calcium absorption may be decreased. Ensuring adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is especially important in patients with Paget’s disease of bone and in patients receiving glucocorticoids.

5.3 Musculoskeletal Pain

In post-marketing experience, severe and occasionally incapacitating bone, joint, and/or muscle pain has been reported in patients taking bisphosphonates that are approved for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)] . This category of drugs includes alendronate. Most of the patients were postmenopausal women. The time to onset of symptoms varied from one day to several months after starting the drug. Discontinue use if severe symptoms develop. Most patients had relief of symptoms after stopping. A subset had recurrence of symptoms when rechallenged with the same drug or another bisphosphonate.

In placebo-controlled clinical studies of alendronate sodium, the percentages of patients with these symptoms were similar in the alendronate sodium and placebo groups.

5.4 Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which can occur spontaneously, is generally associated with tooth extraction and/or local infection with delayed healing, and has been reported in patients taking bisphosphonates, including alendronate sodium. Known risk factors for osteonecrosis of the jaw include invasive dental procedures (e.g., tooth extraction, dental implants, boney surgery), diagnosis of cancer, concomitant therapies (e.g., chemotherapy, corticosteroids, angiogenesis inhibitors), poor oral hygiene, and co-morbid disorders (e.g., periodontal and/or other pre-existing dental disease, anemia, coagulopathy, infection, ill-fitting dentures). The risk of ONJ may increase with duration of exposure to bisphosphonates. For patients requiring invasive dental procedures, discontinuation of bisphosphonate treatment may reduce the risk for ONJ. Clinical judgment of the treating physician and/or oral surgeon should guide the management plan of each patient based on individual benefit/risk assessment.

Patients who develop osteonecrosis of the jaw while on bisphosphonate therapy should receive care by an oral surgeon. In these patients, extensive dental surgery to treat ONJ may exacerbate the condition. Discontinuation of bisphosphonate therapy should be considered based on individual benefit/risk assessment.Patients who develop osteonecrosis of the jaw while on bisphosphonate therapy should receive care by an oral surgeon. In these patients, extensive dental surgery to treat ONJ may exacerbate the condition. Discontinuation of bisphosphonate therapy should be considered based on individual benefit/risk assessment.

5.5 Atypical Subtrochanteric and Diaphyseal Femoral Fractures

Atypical, low-energy, or low trauma fractures of the femoral shaft have been reported in bisphosphonate-treated patients. These fractures can occur anywhere in the femoral shaft from just below the lesser trochanter to above the supracondylar flare and are transverse or short oblique in orientation without evidence of comminution. Causality has not been established as these fractures also occur in osteoporotic patients who have not been treated with bisphosphonates.

Atypical femur fractures most commonly occur with minimal or no trauma to the affected area. They may be bilateral and many patients report prodromal pain in the affected area, usually presenting as dull, aching thigh pain, weeks to months before a complete fracture occurs. A number of reports note that patients were also receiving treatment with glucocorticoids (e.g. prednisone) at the time of fracture.

Any patient with a history of bisphosphonate exposure who presents with thigh or groin pain should be suspected of having an atypical fracture and should be evaluated to rule out an incomplete femur fracture. Patients presenting with an atypical fracture should also be assessed for symptoms and signs of fracture in the contralateral limb. Interruption of bisphosphonate therapy should be considered, pending a risk/benefit assessment, on an individual basis.

5.6 Renal Impairment

Alendronate sodium is not recommended for patients with creatinine clearance <35 mL/min.

5.7 Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis

The risk versus benefit of alendronate sodium for treatment at daily dosages of glucocorticoids less than 7.5 mg of prednisone or equivalent has not been established [see Indications and Usage (1.4)] . Before initiating treatment, the gonadal hormonal status of both men and women should be ascertained and appropriate replacement considered. A bone mineral density measurement should be made at the initiation of therapy and repeated after 6 to 12 months of combined alendronate sodium and glucocorticoid treatment.

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