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Actonel (Risedronate Sodium) - Warnings and Precautions



Upper Gastrointestinal Adverse Reactions

Bisphosphonates, including ACTONEL, may cause upper gastrointestinal disorders such as dysphagia, esophagitis, and esophageal or gastric ulcers. ACTONEL should be taken according to the dosing instructions to minimize the risk of these events. Patients should discontinue use if new or worsening symptoms occur. [ see Contraindications (4), Adverse Reactions (6.1), Information for Patients (17.1) ].

Mineral Metabolism

Hypocalcemia and other disturbances of bone and mineral metabolism should be effectively treated before starting ACTONEL therapy. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is important in all patients, especially in patients with Paget's disease in whom bone turnover is significantly elevated [ see Contraindications (4), Adverse Reactions (6.1), Information for Patients (17.1) ].

Jaw Osteonecrosis

Osteonecrosis, primarily in the jaw, has been reported in patients treated with bisphosphonates [ see Adverse Reactions (6.2) ]. Most cases have been in cancer patients undergoing dental procedures such as tooth extraction, but some have occurred in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis or other diagnoses. Most reported cases have been in patients treated with bisphosphonates intravenously but some have been in patients treated orally.

For patients requiring dental procedures, there are no data available to suggest whether discontinuation of bisphosphonate treatment, prior to the procedure, reduces the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Clinical judgment should guide the management plan of each patient based on individual benefit/risk assessment [ see Adverse Reactions (6.2) ].

Musculoskeletal Pain

In postmarketing experience, there have been reports of severe and occasionally incapacitating bone, joint, and/or muscle pain in patients taking bisphosphonates [ see Adverse Reactions (6.2) ]. The time to onset of symptoms varied from one day to several months after starting the drug. Most patients had relief of symptoms after stopping medication. A subset had recurrence of symptoms when rechallenged with the same drug or another bisphosphonate. Consider discontinuing use if severe symptoms develop.

Renal Impairment

ACTONEL is not recommended for use in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance <30 mL/min).

Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis

Before initiating ACTONEL treatment for the treatment and prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, the sex steroid hormonal status of both men and women should be ascertained and appropriate replacement considered.

Laboratory Test Interactions

Bisphosphonates are known to interfere with the use of bone-imaging agents. Specific studies with ACTONEL have not been performed.



Pregnancy Category C: Survival of neonates was decreased in rats treated during gestation with oral doses ≥16 mg/kg/day (approximately 5.2 times the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2). Body weight was decreased in neonates from dams treated with 80 mg/kg (approximately 26 times the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2). In rats treated during gestation, the number of fetuses exhibiting incomplete ossification of sternebrae or skull was statistically significantly increased at 7.1 mg/kg/day (approximately 2.3 times the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2). Both incomplete ossification and unossified sternebrae were increased in rats treated with oral doses ≥16 mg/kg/day (approximately 5.2 times the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2). A low incidence of cleft palate was observed in fetuses from female rats treated with oral doses ≥3.2 mg/kg/day (approximately 1 time the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2). The relevance of this finding to human use of ACTONEL is unclear. No significant fetal ossification effects were seen in rabbits treated with oral doses up to 10 mg/kg/day during gestation (approximately 6.7 times the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2). However, in rabbits treated with 10 mg/kg/day, 1 of 14 litters were aborted and 1 of 14 litters were delivered prematurely.

Similar to other bisphosphonates, treatment during mating and gestation with doses as low as 3.2 mg/kg/day (approximately 1 time the 30 mg/day human dose based on surface area, mg/m2) has resulted in periparturient hypocalcemia and mortality in pregnant rats allowed to deliver.

Bisphosphonates are incorporated into the bone matrix, from which they are gradually released over periods of weeks to years. The amount of bisphosphonate incorporation into adult bone, and hence, the amount available for release back into the systemic circulation, is directly related to the dose and duration of bisphosphonate use. There are no data on fetal risk in humans. However, there is a theoretical risk of fetal harm, predominantly skeletal, if a woman becomes pregnant after completing a course of bisphosphonate therapy. The impact of variables such as time between cessation of bisphosphonate therapy to conception, the particular bisphosphonate used, and the route of administration (intravenous versus oral) on this risk has not been studied.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of ACTONEL in pregnant women. ACTONEL should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the mother and fetus.

Nursing Mothers

Risedronate was detected in feeding pups exposed to lactating rats for a 24-hour period post-dosing, indicating a small degree of lacteal transfer. It is not known whether ACTONEL is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from ACTONEL, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of ACTONEL use in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Of the patients receiving ACTONEL in postmenopausal osteoporosis studies [ see Clinical Studies (14) ], 47% were between 65 and 75 years of age, and 17% were over 75. The corresponding proportions were 26% and 11% in glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis trials, and 40% and 26% in Paget's disease trials. No overall differences in efficacy between geriatric and younger patients were observed in these studies. In the male osteoporosis trial, 28% of patients receiving ACTONEL were between 65 and 75 years of age and 9% were over 75. The lumbar spine BMD response for ACTONEL compared to placebo was 5.6% for subjects <65 years and 2.9% for subjects ≥65 years. No overall differences in safety between geriatric and younger patients were observed in the ACTONEL trials, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

Page last updated: 2008-05-06

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