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Osteoporosis

Is a Change in Weight a Side Effect of Actonel?

08/27/2007

Question:

Is there any weight gain or weight loss side effects while taking actenol? What percentage have had cardiovascular side effects and what specifically?

Answer:

Taking Actonel has no effect on weight. Actonel belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. Two of the drugs in that class have reported small increases in the occurrence of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that can be associated with strokes. Reclast, a new bisphosphonate given intravenously once a year, had an occurrence of atrial fibrillation in 1.3% of study participants compared to a rate of 0.5% in the placebo users. Fosamax reported a rate of 1.5% compared to 1% in the placebo group. It is not known if all of the drugs in this class carry a similar risk of atrial fibrillation. If you already have atrial fibrillation, you should discuss that issue with your physician prior to starting bisphosphonates. These two reports suggest that the increased risk, if confirmed in other studies, is likely to be less than 1 in 100 people taking the drugs.

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Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati