The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of alendronate sodium. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Body as a Whole: hypersensitivity reactions including urticaria and angioedema. Transient symptoms of myalgia, malaise, asthenia and fever have been reported with alendronate sodium, typically in association with initiation of treatment. Symptomatic hypocalcemia has occurred, generally in association with predisposing conditions. Peripheral edema.
Gastrointestinal: esophagitis, esophageal erosions, esophageal ulcers, esophageal stricture or perforation, and oropharyngeal ulceration. Gastric or duodenal ulcers, some severe and with complications, have also been reported [see Dosage and Administration (2.6); Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Localized osteonecrosis of the jaw, generally associated with tooth extraction and/or local infection with delayed healing, has been reported [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
Musculoskeletal: bone, joint, and/or muscle pain, occasionally severe, and incapacitating [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]; joint swelling; low-energy femoral shaft and subtrochanteric fractures [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].
Nervous System: dizziness and vertigo.
Pulmonary: acute asthma exacerbations.
Skin: rash (occasionally with photosensitivity), pruritus, alopecia, severe skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.
Special Senses: uveitis, scleritis or episcleritis. Cholesteatoma of the external auditory canal (focal osteonecrosis).
Coadministration of alendronate sodium and calcium, antacids, or oral medications containing multivalent cations will interfere with absorption of alendronate sodium. Therefore, instruct patients to wait at least one-half hour after taking alendronate sodium before taking any other oral medications.
In clinical studies, the incidence of upper gastrointestinal adverse events was increased in patients receiving concomitant therapy with daily doses of alendronate greater than 10 mg and aspirin-containing products.
Alendronate sodium may be administered to patients taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In a 3-year, controlled, clinical study (n=2027) during which a majority of patients received concomitant NSAIDs, the incidence of upper gastrointestinal adverse events was similar in patients taking alendronate 5 or 10 mg/day compared to those taking placebo. However, since NSAID use is associated with gastrointestinal irritation, caution should be used during concomitant use with alendronate sodium.
Pregnancy Category C:
There are no studies in pregnant women. Alendronate sodium should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the mother and fetus.
Bisphosphonates are incorporated into the bone matrix, from which they are gradually released over a period of years. The amount of bisphosphonate incorporated into adult bone, and hence, the amount available for release back into the systemic circulation, is directly related to the dose and duration of bisphosphonate use. There are no data on fetal risk in humans. However, there is a theoretical risk of fetal harm, predominantly skeletal, if a woman becomes pregnant after completing a course of bisphosphonate therapy. The impact of variables such as time between cessation of bisphosphonate therapy to conception, the particular bisphosphonate used, and the route of administration (intravenous versus oral) on the risk has not been studied.
Reproduction studies in rats showed decreased postimplantation survival and decreased body weight gain in normal pups at doses less than half of the recommended clinical dose. Sites of incomplete fetal ossification were statistically significantly increased in rats beginning at approximately 3 times the clinical dose in vertebral (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar), skull, and sternebral bones. No similar fetal effects were seen when pregnant rabbits were treated with doses approximately 10 times the clinical dose.
Both total and ionized calcium decreased in pregnant rats at approximately 4 times the clinical dose resulting in delays and failures of delivery. Protracted parturition due to maternal hypocalcemia occurred in rats at doses as low as one tenth the clinical dose when rats were treated from before mating through gestation. Maternotoxicity (late pregnancy deaths) also occurred in the female rats treated at approximately 4 times the clinical dose for varying periods of time ranging from treatment only during pre-mating to treatment only during early, middle, or late gestation; these deaths were lessened but not eliminated by cessation of treatment. Calcium supplementation either in the drinking water or by minipump could not ameliorate the hypocalcemia or prevent maternal and neonatal deaths due to delays in delivery; intravenous calcium supplementation prevented maternal, but not fetal deaths.
Exposure multiples based on surface area, mg/m2 , were calculated using a 40-mg human daily dose. Animal dose ranged between 1 and 15 mg/kg/day in rats and up to 40 mg/kg/day in rabbits.
It is not known whether alendronate is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when alendronate sodium is administered to nursing women.
Alendronate sodium is not indicated for use in pediatric patients.
The safety and efficacy of alendronate sodium were examined in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled two-year study of 139 pediatric patients, aged 4 to 18 years, with severe osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). One-hundred-and-nine patients were randomized to 5 mg alendronate daily (weight less than 40 kg) or 10 mg alendronate daily (weight greater than or equal to 40 kg) and 30 patients to placebo. The mean baseline lumbar spine BMD Z-score of the patients was -4.5. The mean change in lumbar spine BMD Z-score from baseline to Month 24 was 1.3 in the alendronate sodium-treated patients and 0.1 in the placebo-treated patients. Treatment with alendronate sodium did not reduce the risk of fracture. Sixteen percent of the alendronate sodium patients who sustained a radiologically-confirmed fracture by Month 12 of the study had delayed fracture healing (callus remodeling) or fracture non-union when assessed radiographically at Month 24 compared with 9% of the placebo-treated patients. In alendronate sodium-treated patients, bone histomorphometry data obtained at Month 24 demonstrated decreased bone turnover and delayed mineralization time; however, there were no mineralization defects. There were no statistically significant differences between the alendronate sodium and placebo groups in reduction of bone pain. The oral bioavailability in children was similar to that observed in adults.
The overall safety profile of alendronate sodium in osteogenesis imperfecta patients treated for up to 24 months was generally similar to that of adults with osteoporosis treated with alendronate sodium. However, there was an increased occurrence of vomiting in osteogenesis imperfecta patients treated with alendronate sodium compared to placebo. During the 24-month treatment period, vomiting was observed in 32 of 109 (29.4%) patients treated with alendronate sodium and 3 of 30 (10%) patients treated with placebo.
In a pharmacokinetic study, 6 of 24 pediatric osteogenesis imperfecta patients who received a single oral dose of alendronate 35 mg or 70 mg developed fever, flu-like symptoms, and/or mild lymphocytopenia within 24 to 48 hours after administration. These events, lasting no more than 2 to 3 days and responding to acetaminophen, are consistent with an acute-phase response that has been reported in patients receiving bisphosphonates, including alendronate sodium. [See Adverse Reactions (6.2).]
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