FOSAMAX PLUS D (Page 4 of 9)

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Cholecalciferol and some of its active metabolites pass into breast milk. It is not known whether alendronate is present in human breast milk, affects human milk production, or has effects on the breastfed infant. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for FOSAMAX PLUS D and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from FOSAMAX PLUS D or from the underlying maternal condition.

8.4 Pediatric Use

FOSAMAX PLUS D is not indicated for use in pediatric patients.

The safety and efficacy of alendronate were examined in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled two-year study of 139 pediatric patients, aged 4-18 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-treated patients and 0.1 in the placebo-treated patients. Treatment with alendronate did not reduce the risk of fracture. Sixteen percent of the alendronate 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-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 and placebo groups in reduction of bone pain. The oral bioavailability of alendronate in children was similar to that observed in adults.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the patients receiving FOSAMAX in the Fracture Intervention Trial (FIT), 71% (n=2302) were greater than or equal to 65 years of age and 17% (n=550) were greater than or equal to 75 years of age. Of the patients receiving FOSAMAX in the United States and Multinational osteoporosis treatment studies in women, and osteoporosis studies in men [see Clinical Studies (14.1, 14.2)], 45% and 54%, respectively, were 65 years of age or over. No overall differences in efficacy or safety were observed between these patients and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. Dietary requirements of vitamin D3 are increased in the elderly.

8.6 Renal Impairment

FOSAMAX PLUS D is not recommended for patients with creatinine clearance less than 35 mL/min. No dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with creatinine clearance values between 35-60 mL/min [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

Alendronate Sodium

As there is evidence that alendronate is not metabolized or excreted in the bile, no studies were conducted in patients with hepatic impairment. No dosage adjustment is necessary [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


Vitamin D3 may not be adequately absorbed in patients who have malabsorption due to inadequate bile production.


Alendronate Sodium

Significant lethality after single oral doses with alendronate was seen in female rats and mice at 552 mg/kg (3256 mg/m2) and 966 mg/kg (2898 mg/m2), respectively. In males, these values were slightly higher, 626 and 1280 mg/kg, respectively. There was no lethality in dogs at oral doses up to 200 mg/kg (4000 mg/m2).

No specific information is available on the treatment of overdosage with alendronate. Hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, and upper gastrointestinal adverse events, such as upset stomach, heartburn, esophagitis, gastritis, or ulcer, may result from oral overdosage. Milk or antacids should be given to bind alendronate. Due to the risk of esophageal irritation, vomiting should not be induced and the patient should remain fully upright.

Dialysis would not be beneficial.


Significant lethality occurred in mice treated with a single high oral dose of calcitriol (4 mg/kg), the hormonal metabolite of cholecalciferol.

There is limited information regarding doses of cholecalciferol associated with acute toxicity, although intermittent (yearly or twice yearly) single doses of ergocalciferol (vitamin D2 ) as high as 600,000 international units have been given without reports of toxicity. Signs and symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, polyuria, polydipsia, weakness, and lethargy. Serum and urine calcium levels should be monitored in patients with suspected vitamin D toxicity. Standard therapy includes restriction of dietary calcium, hydration, and systemic glucocorticoids in patients with severe hypercalcemia.

Dialysis to remove vitamin D would not be beneficial.


FOSAMAX PLUS D contains alendronate sodium, a bisphosphonate, and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3 ).

Alendronate sodium is a bisphosphonate that acts as a specific inhibitor of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. Bisphosphonates are synthetic analogs of pyrophosphate that bind to the hydroxyapatite found in bone.

Alendronate sodium is chemically described as (4-amino-1-hydroxybutylidene) bisphosphonic acid monosodium salt trihydrate.

The empirical formula of alendronate sodium is C4 H12 NNaO7 P2 •3H2 O and its formula weight is 325.12. The structural formula is:

image of alendronate sodium structural formula

Alendronate sodium is a white, crystalline, nonhygroscopic powder. It is soluble in water, very slightly soluble in alcohol, and practically insoluble in chloroform.

Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3 ) is a secosterol that is the natural precursor of the calcium-regulating hormone calcitriol (1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 ).

The chemical name of cholecalciferol is (3β,5Z ,7E)-9,10-secocholesta-5,7,10(19)-trien-3-ol. The empirical formula of cholecalciferol is C27 H44 O and its molecular weight is 384.6. The structural formula is:

image of cholecalciferol structural formula

Cholecalciferol is a white, crystalline, odorless powder. Cholecalciferol is practically insoluble in water, freely soluble in usual organic solvents, and slightly soluble in vegetable oils.

FOSAMAX PLUS D for oral administration contains 91.37 mg of alendronate monosodium salt trihydrate, the molar equivalent of 70 mg of free acid, and 70 or 140 mcg of cholecalciferol, equivalent to 2800 or 5600 international units vitamin D, respectively. Each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, lactose anhydrous, medium chain triglycerides, gelatin, croscarmellose sodium, sucrose, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, butylated hydroxytoluene, modified food starch, and sodium aluminum silicate.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Alendronate Sodium

Animal studies have indicated the following mode of action. At the cellular level, alendronate shows preferential localization to sites of bone resorption, specifically under osteoclasts. The osteoclasts adhere normally to the bone surface but lack the ruffled border that is indicative of active resorption. Alendronate does not interfere with osteoclast recruitment or attachment, but it does inhibit osteoclast activity. Studies in mice on the localization of radioactive [3 H]alendronate in bone showed about 10-fold higher uptake on osteoclast surfaces than on osteoblast surfaces. Bones examined 6 and 49 days after [3 H]alendronate administration in rats and mice, respectively, showed that normal bone was formed on top of the alendronate, which was incorporated inside the matrix. While incorporated in bone matrix, alendronate is not pharmacologically active. Thus, alendronate must be continuously administered to suppress osteoclasts on newly formed resorption surfaces. Histomorphometry in baboons and rats showed that alendronate treatment reduces bone turnover (i.e., the number of sites at which bone is remodeled). In addition, bone formation exceeds bone resorption at these remodeling sites, leading to progressive gains in bone mass.


Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin by photochemical conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3 by ultraviolet light. This is followed by non-enzymatic isomerization to vitamin D3 . In the absence of adequate sunlight exposure, vitamin D3 is an essential dietary nutrient. Vitamin D3 in skin and dietary vitamin D3 (absorbed into chylomicrons) is converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the liver. Conversion to the active calcium-mobilizing hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol) in the kidney is stimulated by both parathyroid hormone and hypophosphatemia. The principal action of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is to increase intestinal absorption of both calcium and phosphate as well as regulate serum calcium, renal calcium and phosphate excretion, bone formation and bone resorption.

Vitamin D is required for normal bone formation. Vitamin D insufficiency develops when both sunlight exposure and dietary intake are inadequate. Insufficiency is associated with negative calcium balance, increased parathyroid hormone levels, bone loss, and increased risk of skeletal fracture. In severe cases, deficiency results in more severe hyperparathyroidism, hypophosphatemia, proximal muscle weakness, bone pain and osteomalacia.

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