Actonel (Risedronate)

The bisphosphonates are a group of drugs that are very good at building up bone. They have been tested in both men and women. As a group, the bisphosphonates are poorly absorbed.

They need to be taken on an empty stomach in order to ensure the best absorption. After absorption, they bind tightly to the bone cells, slowing down bone loss and allowing your bone-building cells to increase your bone density.

Actonel is a very similar medication to Fosamax. Like Fosamax, it is not very well absorbed so it should be taken on an empty stomach.

The dose for Actonel is 5 milligrams (mg) per day or 35 mg once a week. Actonel is generally well tolerated and has been shown to increase bone density at both the spine and hip.


  • Actonel is very effective at building bone in the spine and hip. It also reduces fractures in both the spine and hip.
  • Both men and women can take the drug.
  • Patients taking Actonel may experience less stomach upset than those taking Fosamax, a similar drug.


  • Because Actonel is not absorbed well by the intestines, patients must take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Patients cannot eat or lie down for 30 minutes afterward to help absorption.
  • Actonel may cause an upset stomach and irritation to the esophagus (food pipe). Patients with certain stomach and esophageal disorders should not take it.