Actonel is a prescription drug used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in men and postmenopausal women. Actonel, a brand name for risedronate, is manufactured by Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and has been on the market since FDA approval in 2000. Originally, the only available Actonel dose was a 5 milligram tablet taken once a day. However, Actonel now comes in doses of 150 milligrams which are taken once a month.

Actonel belongs to the class of medicines called bisphosphonates. Other bisphosphonates similar to Actonel include Fosamax, Aredia, Boniva, and Zometa. Bisphosphonates, like Actonel, work by altering the bone formation and breakdown cycle in the body to slow bone loss while increasing bone mass. This process helps prevent bone fractures.

Although Actonel may help prevent and treat osteoporosis, it can also cause various side effects. These side effects range from mild to life-threatening. Generally, the severity of Actonel side effects depends on many factors, including each patient’s medical history and overall health.

Actonel Side Effects

Because Actonel can cause serious side effects in the stomach or esophagus, Actonel users should remain upright for at least 30 minutes after taking an Actonel tablet. In addition, the risk of side effects can be reduced by taking Actonel with a full glass of water and by not eating or drinking anything for at least 30 minutes after taking Actonel. Patients should stop using Actonel immediately and call their doctor if they experience any of these serious side effects:

  • chest pain
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • pain or burning under the ribs or in the back
  • new or worsening heartburn
  • severe joint, bone, or muscle pain
  • jaw pain, numbness, or swelling

Actonel Side Effects: Jaw Death

In addition to the side effects listed above, some people using bisphosphonates like Actonel have developed the side effect of jaw bone loss, also called Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) or “jaw death.” Side effects of this condition may include:

  • jaw pain
  • swelling
  • numbness
  • loose teeth
  • gum infection
  • slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums

You may be more likely to develop jaw death as an Actonel side effect if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with the Actonel side effect of jaw death include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and pre-existing dental problems.

If you or a family member took Actonel and experienced a serious side effect, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Contact us today!

Published November 17, 2011 by