Medicine & USMLE

Bisphosphonates: Alendronate, Risedronate

Musculoskeletal Drugs
  1. Corticosteroids
  2. Acetaminophen
  3. Azathioprine
  4. Sulfasalazine
  5. TNF Inhibitors
  6. Immunosuppressants (Cyclosporine, Mycophenolate, Tacrolimus)
  7. NSAIDs
  8. Colchicine
  9. Allopurinol
  10. Rasburicase
  11. Dantrolene
  12. Muscle Relaxants
  13. Bisphosphonates: Alendronate, Risedronate


Bisphosphonates are medications that end in “-dronate”, like alendronate and risedronate. These drugs are used to treat osteoporosis by reducing bone loss. If taken over the long term, bisphosphonates can cause the severe side effect of jaw necrosis. Another side effect to know is esophagitis, which can be prevented by taking the medication first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, with plenty of water, and remaining upright for 30 minutes after taking the pill.

Key Points

  • Bisphosphonates
    • Drug Names
      • -dronate
        • Alendronate
        • Ibandronate
        • Pamidronate
        • Risedronate
    • Mechanism
      • Block osteoclasts, thus inhibiting bone resorption
    • Clinical Use
      • Osteoporosis
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Pill-induced Esophagitis
        • Inflammation of the esophagus
        • Take on an empty stomach with plenty of water and remain upright for 30 minutes after swallowing pill
          • Usually taken first thing in the morning
      • Jaw necrosis
        • Associated with long-term use