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Didronel is used to treat osteoporosis (thinning of bone) in women after menopause, even though this medication has not yet been approved by the FDA specifically for this purpose. After menopause, there is an increased rate of bone loss (resorption), and an increased risk of bone fractures. In these patients, didronel has been shown to increase bone density while strengthening bone, and decrease the rate of bone fractures. Didronel is also helpful in the treatment of Paget's disease of the bone. The cause of Paget's disease is unknown. It is characterized by a disorderly and accelerated remodeling of the bone, leading to bone weakness and pain. Didronel reduces bone pain and fractures in Paget's disease. Didronel is also used to prevent an unusual condition, called heterotopic ossification. In heterotopic ossification, bone is deposited in soft tissues and muscles, usually after hip replacement or spinal cord surgery.
Since calcium riche foods such as dairy products, antacids, vitamins with mineral supplements, and certain medications can interfere with the absorption of didronel, the medication should be taken in an empty stomach, 2 hours before eating or taking other medications.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Didronel belongs to a class of medications that strengthen bone. Bone is in a constant state of remodeling in which old bone is removed by cells called osteoclasts, and new bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts. Didronel inhibits bone removal by the osteoclasts.
If you miss a dose of this medicine and you take 1 dose daily, take the missed dose if you remember the same day. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Store at room temperature, sealed container, avoid moisture.
Possible Side Effects
Didronel is generally well tolerated. Side effects are usually mild and often do not require discontinuing the medication. These include stomach pain or upset, constipation, diarrhea, muscle ache, and headache. In rare instances, patients with Paget's disease of the bone will experience increased bone pain during treatment with didronel.
Non-drug therapy may also help prevent bone loss. Consult your doctor about a weight-bearing exercise plan or other lifestyle changes that may be helpful. Follow all diet recommendations for adequate daily calcium and vitamin D intake. Do not share this medicine with others for whom it was not prescribed. Do not use this medicine for other health conditions. Keep this medicine out of the reach of children. If using this medicine for an extended period of time, obtain refills before your supply runs out.