Does Medicare Cover the Cost of Alendronate?

In this article...
  • Explore the Medicare plans that cover the prescription drug alendronate. Find out about the possible deductibles, copays and available discount options.

If you're dealing with osteoporosis or another bone-related condition, alendronate may be part of your treatment and prevention plan. While many forms of alendronate are affordable, prescription prices can increase over time — especially if you need multiple medications. With a Medicare plan that offers adequate drug coverage, it's easier to stay in control of your healthcare costs.

What Type of Medication Is Alendronate?

Alendronate is a type of prescription drug that doctors often use to treat and prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis. The drug is typically limited to adults; many approved uses are targeted to postmenopausal women. However, doctors may use it in certain cases of pediatric osteoporosis or Gaucher disease.

Some types of alendronate are also approved by the FDA to treat other conditions. FOSAMAX, for example, may be prescribed to increase the level of bone mass in men who live with osteoporosis. Doctors may also use it to treat Paget's disease or glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. The FDA has approved another branded version, BINOSTO, to treat a more limited scope of conditions.

In most cases, alendronate forms a bond with the hydroxyapatite crystals that may exist in your bones. It also prevents your body from absorbing bone cells quickly, so your body has more time to build a higher bone density.    

Does Medicare Cover Alendronate?

Many Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for alendronate. Depending on the form you take, the drug is usually classified as Tier 1 or Tier 2 in plan formularies. Every plan is different, so make sure to check specific coverage details.

How Much Does Alendronate Cost?

Alendronate is usually an affordable medication. Prices vary based on the dosage, brand name, form and pharmacy. If you don't have insurance, and you pay full price, your medication might cost between $47 and $171 for a 30-day supply.

However, most people won't pay that much. If you have Medicare prescription drug coverage or another type of insurance, your price will depend on your plan. If you use a prescription discount service like GoodRx or Kroger Rx Savings Club, you'll typically pay between $6 and $25 per month.

Keep in mind that Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans may have a deductible. Coverage won't kick in until your out-of-pocket costs reach the deductible amount, which can't be more than $480 in 2022.

Things To Know About Alendronate

As with many medications, alendronate may cause side effects. Some of the most commonly reported adverse effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Bone pain
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

If your doctor advises you to take alendronate, it's important to disclose all the medications, vitamins, supplements and homeopathic remedies you're taking. This is particularly important if you use human parathyroid hormone; due to the potential for negative drug interaction, the two should not be used concurrently.

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