side effects I have noticed with Alendronic acid and very distressed about

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I have been taking alendronic acid for a year. Because I had quite thick hair I never noticed hair loss But now it has started to notice more hair in the plug hole when I wash it. I got my hair cut recently and really noticed how thin it was on the top of my head. I did look at the side effects at first but it did not register with me that hair loss was one of them. I am very distessed about it and has any other lady had the same problem?

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  • Posted

    I was prescribed Alendronic Acid for osteoporosis in late September 2012. Within four weeks I noticed small pink spots on my arms. I took a fifth tablet then went to the GP as by this time I had a dry scalp and a reddening of the skin all around the hairline and behind the ears. The GP advised me to stop taking AA as a rash was one of the side effects. Since then the rash has spread to other areas of my body. The small pink spots grow in size from pin head to size of 20p piece over period of weeks and they are rough to the touch and occasionally itchy. At first the reddening around the hairline wasn't a cosmetic issue as my hair and fringe covered it but as the weeks have passed my hair has been falling out to such an extent that it is now very obvious. As a woman in her fifties hair loss is distressing and the big pink spots on my arms mean I have to cover up. People comment and ask if I have psoriasis but I have never had this in my life and it all started within a month of starting the Alendronic Acid. Some of the first spots are beginning to fade a little after four months but new ones appear every day or two. I have also had aching in the thigh bones. I would be interested to know of anyone else with similar reactions.
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  • Posted

    Hello Kathy m,

    I too had noticed a bald patch at the side of my head.  It occurred to me that it may be due to the medication I had been prescribed for osteoporosis so checked online and there it was - a side effect is hair loss.  I feel very angry that this was not pointed out to me and intend to cease taking the medication forthwith and make an appointment to speak to my GP.  I have only taken four tablets over four weeks so goodness knows what would happen if I continue to take them.

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    • Posted

      Hello Brenda. 

      I was so concerned about hair loss that I went privately, then on the NHS, to a v senior dermatologist at Guys and St Thomas. I had various biopsies en route. He said AA  is not 'hair friendly', in that with a genetic component for hair loss (my dad was bald), AA compounds or triggers such loss. I am now on Femodone which seems to reduce hair loss substantially, although I have to go onto Minoxidil 8-10% solution to try to obtain regrowth. I had been on AA for some 5 years, with gradual and then substantially increasing loss, but in any case the literature recommends coming off after then because of increased risk of fractures.

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  • Posted

    Hello again,

    Thank you very much for the information you gave.  I have a horrid suspicion that regaining hair growth is not going to be easy - or indeed possible.  My father was bald so the propensity must be there for me to lose hair when taking this medication.  Not sure about taking Femodene at my age (71) but will discuss with my GP.

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  • Posted

    Hi Kathy

    It is now two and a half years since I stopped the AA and though I still have small patches of dry scalp I have fewer and smaller bald areas, they're just the size of little finger nail. My mother hadn't seen me for 3 months and mentioned she thought my hair was looking thicker. So maybe the body sorts itself out eventually. I wish you well

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    • Posted

      Thank you marg123.  If I come up with something useful and interesting after my GP appointment I will let you know. Sorry to use the wrong name.  Not used to this site yet.
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  • Posted

    I am furious about this and will be sure to convey this at my next GP appt.  I am stopping AA immediately.  For various reasons I didn't take it regularly when first prescribed, and I have just noticed a small pink spot on my arm.

    My hair was my pride and joy, and sincereading this and looking further on line, have also discovered the effect on jaw bone density, which has led to loosening teeth.

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  • Posted

    Hello Kathy,

    I was prescribed AA nearly two years ago and the bald patch on the side of my head is still there.  I live in hope that it will begin to grow in again but so far it has not.  I am upset that it was prescribed to me by my GP, but it is a warning that we should read the side effects before taking any medication.  It was prescribed to help the Calcium and Vitamin C to be absorbed, but to be honest it seems to be doing that without the AA for I have noticed that my nails are much stronger than they have ever been before.  I am a gardener and do the household painting and decorating so my nails often used to break.  Now I have to cut them to keep them short not to tidy them after they have broken.  I would love to warn other women who are prescribed this unnecessary medication but do not know how.  I have two friends with general hair loss and have found that they have been prescribed AA for the same reason that I have.  I do wonder about GPs sometimes.  My friends have both stopped taking it.   

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    • Posted

      Hi Brenda.  i think GPs have an impossible job, and very likely potential hair loss not really a high priority. I think the answer is really not to rely on meds but get nutrition via diet, something I fail at, but this has been a real wake up call.  
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  • Posted

    I contacted a clinic after I made my first post on this site, and was advised (not conclusively as they haven't seen me) that hair regrowth will be take several months.  I always read the potential side effects leaflets, AA was prescribed for me due to osteoporosis.  I've had such serious pain in my bones and muscles, extreme fatigue, so much so that fibromyalgia was diagnosed.  And now this.  So that is why I must go to GP - they must check meds before diagnosing ME/fibromyalgia.  Finally, this symptom (hair thinning and loss) seems common, not 'possible' so the leaflet should be reviewed and amended.  I am going to mention it to pharmacist as well.  I'm so cross, really cross, as if there's not enough to be bothered about!

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