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Why can't I lie down or bend over after taking Fosamax?


Fosamax® (alendronate) is a drug that prevents and treats the bone-thinning disorder osteoporosis. Fosamax® slows bone breakdown, builds bone mass, and reduces the chance that bones will break. It also treats Paget's disease (weak or deformed bones).

Fosamax® usage

As with many medications, there are strict directions for taking Fosamax®. For the drug to be most effective:

  • Take Fosamax® on a totally empty stomach - before taking any other medication or eating or drinking anything other than 6 to 8 oz of plain water, and
  • Remain upright for at least 30 minutes after taking Fosamax®.

Why such strict directions? Sitting, standing, or walking upright helps ensure the medication reaches your stomach quickly. It also helps prevent the drug from irritating your esophagus, which could happen if you bend over or lie down during those first 30 minutes. Contact your doctor if you experience chest pain, worsening heartburn, or pain when you swallow.

Fosamax® side effects

Fosamax's most common side effects are usually mild and include stomach pain, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, gas, stomach fullness, and muscle pain. Severe side effects can include pain, swelling, or bleeding in the throat, with a feeling of chest pain or heartburn and painful swallowing. This severe reaction can usually be avoided if you follow instructions carefully.

Back to Pharmacist FAQs


Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a Walgreens.com pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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