Published: June 2010

Alendronate case report - the importance of patient counselling

Prescriber Update 31(2): 11
June 2010

A recent case report to CARM serves as a reminder to all healthcare professionals that it is important for patients to understand how to take alendronate tablets correctly.

This case report involves a patient who was intellectually impaired who developed a large fungating painful soft tissue lesion in the right buccal sulcus while being treated with alendronate. The lesion, which had the appearance of a chemical burn, was believed to be due to the patient retaining the alendronate tablet in the buccal pouch.

Alendronate causes local irritation of the oesophageal mucosa and for this reason patients must understand how to take these tablets correctly: the tablet should only be swallowed upon arising for the day with a full glass of water, and the patient should not lie down for at least 30 minutes and until after their first food of the day.1

Healthcare professionals are advised to exercise caution in patients who may have difficulty with understanding how to take alendronate tablets correctly.

  1. Merck Sharp & Dohme NZ Ltd. 29 June 2009. Alendronate (Fosamax®) data sheet.