Bisphosphonates (Alendronic Acid) and possible side effects

We have written quite a few articles about bisphosphonates (we, with Birdshot are usually prescribed bisphosphonates, such as alendronic acid, when we are on steroids).  Bisphosphonates help to protect us against the damage to our bones that steroids may produce.

A recent study from British Columbia looked retrospectively at people who were first-time users of oral bisphosphonates and who had visited an ophthalmologist between 2000 and 2007.  This group was compared to people who did not use oral bisphosphonates.

The study concluded that the incidence of uveitis in first-time users of oral bisphosphonates was slightly higher than for non-users and the incidence of scleritis was quite a lot higher in first-time bisphosphonates users.

The findings were that people using oral bisphosphonates for the first time may be at higher risk of scleritis and uveitis than non-bisphosphonate users.

This is not really new information – we have known this for some time. It is important always to keep a check on our medications and side effects, and to have strong relationships with our consultants so we can fully understand the risks versus the benefits of each medication.

The full article can be found at

5 thoughts on “Bisphosphonates (Alendronic Acid) and possible side effects

  1. My understanding is that the Alendronic Acid is only prescribed for 5 years max. So what happens after that. I am in year three now and thus far not noticed any side effects TG.

  2. Hi Ann
    There is research to show that the use of alendronic acid should be constantly evaluated for risks and benefits, particularly after five years. We have posted about this research on BUS before. You can find the post be searching for alendronic acid. Some consultants believe that the benefits outweigh the risks of continuing on alendronic acid for longer, if you are on steroids. Others disagree. I think you need all the information from your consultant so that you and your consultant can make a decision. If you are not at risk of bone thinning or bone fragility, it is likely you will not be prescribed alendronic acid beyond the five years. Always difficult, these complex medication regimes!


  3. I was put on Bisphosphonates (Alendronic Acid) for bone thinning shortly prior to being diagnosed with Birdshot. I was wondering if there was a chance that Fosamax +D was the instigator of this once dormant condition?

  4. Can you please tell me if Alendronic acid and also taking Adcal can couse severe thinning of the hair in a woman?

  5. We are not aware that Alendronic Acid is known for causing thinning of the hair.

    Please talk to your GP about this as there may be something else causing this to happen which he can help with.


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