We get excited when people ask about the best way to take their medicine. If you take certain medicines with food, you may not absorb them well. Other medicines get into your system better if you take them with food. But we don’t always think about this, and sometimes we get conflicting instructions. One reader was puzzled about delayed release risedronate, an osteoporosis medicine taken once a week.
Conflicting Instructions on Delayed Release Risedronate:
Q. I have osteoporosis and just picked up a new prescription of Risedronate Sodium Delayed Release Tablets. The label on the bottle has my doctor’s instructions to take the pill 30 minutes before my first food or drink. That’s the traditional method for the instant release risedronate I used to take.
The pharmacy included an instruction sheet telling me to take one tablet on the same morning each week immediately following breakfast. Please tell me which method is more effective, or if it makes a difference.
A. Your doctor may have confused the delayed-release with the immediate-release formulation. The official prescribing information for delayed release risedronate tablets advises taking the pills “immediately following breakfast.” If you take the drug before breakfast, on an empty stomach, you run a higher risk of a serious stomachache.
Be sure to swallow the tablet with a full glass of water to make sure it doesn’t get stuck. The ingredients can irritate the esophagus.
What Is Risedronate?
Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia), like alendronate (Fosamax) and ibandronate (Boniva), slows bone breakdown. The body is constantly remodeling the bones, with some cells pulling bone cells apart and others building new bone. In osteoporosis, cells that destroy bone get way ahead of the bone-building cells. As a result, the bones lose density and become weak.
Bisphosphonate drugs such as delayed release risedronate help get these processes back in balance. Consequently, bone density increases and people are less likely to break a vertebra or a hip (Clinical Therapeutics, Sep. 2007).
Some people prefer to take risedronate once a week, as you now are, instead of every day as you used to do. Studies suggest that both regimens work fairly well (Osteoporosis International, Jan. 2013).