Skeleton Pirate

Skeleton Pirate
Artist: LindaB


Have you experienced, or read about, negative, and even dangerous, side effects from Fosamax (alendronate), Boniva (ibandronate), Actonel (risedronate), and other bisphosphonates prescribed for osteoporosis? If you have, then rest assured there is a safe, effective treatment for this condition. Strontium, primarily in the form of strontium citrate, is taken orally once a day.

Visitors to my blog can leave comments or ask questions and can remain anonymous, if they wish. Their comments are relayed to my g-mail inbox. Below each post, the number of comments for that post is cited and underlined because it is a link. By clicking on that link below any post, a window opens so that a visitor can leave a comment. Ideally, visitors leave comments on posts most relevant to their comments. All comments to my posts are moderated by me.

Browse the posts and visit the link library of references.

Visit me at

Blog Archive

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why I No Longer Take Fosamax

I took Fosamax 70 mg once weekly for seven months before getting off due to intolerable side effects beginning after four months. The worst problems were vertigo and dizziness, which came on suddenly. I woke up one morning and when I tried to get out of bed, I felt like I was falling. I had to call my husband to assist me to the bathroom. Although these symptoms became less severe, I never regained my equilibrium while on Fosamax and was unable to exercise on the floor due to vertigo when I lay flat. I also experienced heart palpitations,extreme coldness, and general malaise about two hours after taking my weekly dose. I now wonder if I was having atrial fibrillation, another serious side effect of Fosamax. I am so glad I got off it!

I gave my body a month to clear out the drug and then I began taking strontium citrate 680 mg once daily. I feel well again and began this blog to relate my progress and get comments from others.


Anonymous said...

You gave your body one month to clear it of fosamax---which has a half life of --how many years? Even though you were only taking it for 6 months, I think it is still in your system. TT

BoneLady said...

Unfortunately, you are probably right. I can only say that the bad side effects I experienced while on Fosamax disappeared almost as soon as I got off it. I pray it is not silently doing anything horrible to me now.

Anonymous said...

I just took my first dose even after reading lots of negative comments. My doc said that 90% of people tolerate Fosamax well so I was thinking that the 5% are the ones who relate their stories on the websites and that the 90% aren't heard from. I am now looking for symptoms...had very mild stomach pains last evening which went away at bedtime and woke up in the night with a sore right buttocks. In the morning the other one was sore too. It has gone away during the day today. My question to you is...did you have any symptoms for the 4 months before the vertigo episode? I was hoping that if one didn't have serious side effects right off the bat, that would bode well for a relatively easy go of it.

BoneLady said...

Response to post of December 2,2008:

Yes, I did have some symptoms during the four months before the first episode of vertigo,but they were tolerable. I had mild pain in my buttocks,which gradually went away. I occasionally had mild pain in the area of my sternum. I would feel sick on the day I took my weekly dose, but I would feel better the next day.

I know many people take Fosamax and other bisphosphonates. I hope your symtoms remain mild or disappear entirely and that your treatment is successful. said...

i have recently been dx with osteoporosis and rx fosomax... am reluctant to take it and research has lead me to strontium info, are some brands better than others, do you have any recommendations in this area... thank you for any input you might offer

BoneLady said...


Yes, some brands of strontium salts are better than others. On March 31, 2009, I posted the following on my blog:

"Not All Strontium Supplements Are The Same

Be careful about the strontium supplement you choose. They are not all the same. The optimum dose is 680 mg elemental strontium daily. One study found that three out of five products tested contained significantly less strontium than their labels indicated. The two properly labeled products were AOR Strontium Support and Strontium Bone Maker. The information from the study came from an article,"Supplement Helps Bones Grow Stronger," published online in the Star Bulletin."

Doctor's Best Strontium Bone Maker is the only brand I have used, so I can recommend it. I take two veggie caps per day for a total of 680 mg strontium. I buy it from, but there are several online sources for it. It costs double at my local health food store.

AOR Strontium Support was the other properly labeled product mentioned in the article. It is a Canadian product available online.

Sara DeHart, a retired nurse who has published two online papers about her experiences with osteoporosis and spinal fractures, is currently taking Osteo-Mins-AM. It contains some additional minerals. She takes three 250-mg pills per day for a total of 750 mg strontium. It is available online from the Tahoma Clinic. She has also used the Doctor's Best brand. She has not fractured since she started taking strontium, calcium, and vitamin D supplements. I wrote two posts about her and have links to her articles in my reference section.

elaine katherine laurin said...

which calcium do you take, i know there i several different kinds

BoneLady said...

elaine katherine laurin,

Every day with lunch, I take one tablet of Kal Extra-Strength Calcium Magnesium. One tablet contains 500 mg calcium (as calcium carbonate and calcium amino acid chelate) and 250 mg magnesium (as magnesium oxide and magnesium amino acid chelate).

At supper, I take one tablet Nature Made MULTI for Her 50+, a multivitamin that contains 22 key nutrients for women over age 50. Among these nutrients are 200 mg calcium (as calcium carbonate), 100 mg magnesium (as magnesium oxide),1000 I.U. vitamin D3, and 80 mcg vitamin K.

I'm getting 700 mg calcium from the two supplements. The other 500 mg calcium, for a total of 1200, comes from diet. I drink 12 ounces of fat-free milk each morning. I frequently eat cheese, mostly reduced-fat cheese, and occasionally eat fat-free yogurt.

Both of my calcium supplements contain calcium carbonate. The KAL product from my health food store contains both calcium carbonate and calcium amino acid chelate. If you take calcium carbonate, as I do, be sure to take it with food for proper absorption.

Good luck to you.

elaine katherine laurin said...

thank you so much for this info.... happy holidays to you... kel

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that the problem with Fosamax and other bisphosphonates is that in rendering the osteoclasts ineffective, and thus preventing the shedding of what amounts to waste matter from the bones, they increase the size of the bones on x rays, but it isn't healthy bone. But doesn't strontium do the same? I'm not, by any means, arguing against strontium or for bisphosphonates; I'd just like to understand this.

BoneLady said...

To: Anonymous poster of 12/17/2010:

Strontium has a dual mode of action rebalancing bone turnover in favor of bone formation. The increased bone remodeling in women after menopause induces an imbalance between bone resorption and formation, leading to decreased bone mass, altered bone microarchitecture, and increased fracture risk. Current antiosteoporotic drugs decrease bone remodeling or increase bone formation. Strontium ranelate (Protelos) acts by reducing bone resorption and promoting bone formation, thereby inducing a positive bone balance.

In clinical trials, serum alkaline phosphatase levels increased whereas serum CTX levels simultaneously decreased in patients treated with Protelos versus placebo at all time-points. In these trials, histomorphometric analysis of bone biopsies showed that the osteoblast surface and mineral apposition rate increased whereas bone resorption parameters tended to decrease in treated patients compared to the placebo group. These data indicate that strontium ranelate acts by increasing bone formation and decreasing bone resorption, thus rebalancing bone turnover in favour of bone formation, an effect that results in increased bone mass and strength.

This information was excerpted from PubMed PMID: 16735840. You can find this abstract and several others at

Lizz1147 said...

My husband started taking Protelos 2g this past week. He also takes testosterone 300 every 7-10 days and I have read that testoterone reduces the speed of ridding strontium from your body and can cause you to retain too much. He has only taken 2 or 3 doses of Protelos 2g and has muscle, joint, bone pain, gas, insomnia and vericose veins that seem to be more pronounced. Someone said he should not be taking more than 500mg/d if he takes testosterone. Should he stay off the protelos 2g for a period of time? we can divide the protelos powder into 500mg approx doses? I can order the Doctor's best and start him on the 680mg regimen. At a loss of what to do. Any advice?

BoneLady said...


You are confused about the dosages! This is a common misconception I have run across. The 2 grams of Protelos is the amount of strontium ranelate in the product. The amount of elemental strontium in Protelos is 680 mg. Doctor's Best Strontium Bone Maker has 1,944 mg, which is almost 2 grams of strontium citrate, and 680 mg elemental strontium in one dose of two capsules. The elemental strontium is the active ingredient in both products. Your husband will not be getting a lower dose by switching to Doctor's Best unless he takes one capsule for 340 mg elemental strontium instead of two capsules for 680 mg. At least, it will be simple to take just the one capsule, with nothing to divide.

Also, many people get negative side effects from strontium ranelate that they do not experience with strontium citrate. Often it is the ranelic acid and/or the artificial sweeteners in Protelos that cause the problems. If your husband wants to remain on his current medications, he should contact the doctor(s) who prescribed testosterone and Protelos. He can also contact the drug manufacturer,Servier, with specific questions about Protelos. If he decides to switch to one capsule per day of strontium citrate, he should wait until he is feeling better. If he does well after a few months on one capsule, he might even try two. Good luck to both of you. Let me know how it goes.

Wandering Skeleton

Wandering Skeleton
Artist: Joel Hoekstra

Osteoporotic Bone

Osteoporotic Bone

How Strontium Builds Bones

Strontium is a mineral that tends to accumulate in bone. Studies have shown that oral doses of strontium are a safe and effective way to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Doses of 680 mg per day appear to be optimal. See my "For More Information About Strontium" links section.

Osteoporosis is caused by changes in bone production. In healthy young bones there is a constant cycle of new bone growth and bone removal. With age, more bone is removed and less new bone is produced. The bones become less dense and thus more fragile.

Scientists believe that strontium works in two ways. It may stimulate the replication of pre-osteoblasts, leading to an increase in osteoblasts (cells that build bone). Strontium also directly inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). The result is stronger bones.

When taking strontium, be sure to take 1200 mg calcium, 1000 IU vitamin D3, and 500 mg magnesium daily. It is best to take strontium late at night on an empty stomach. Calcium and strontium may compete with each other for absorption if taken together.