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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"


Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

How would you rate your experience so far?


Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

By using the Arthritis Virtual Assistant you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
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> > > > When and how to take bisphosphonates?

When and how to take bisphosphonates?

There are several different bisphosphonates, and how they can be taken varies. The three ways in which they can be taken (administered) are:

  • by mouth (orally)
  • through a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion)
  • by an injection into a vein (intravenous injection).

Oral treatment

Oral bisphosphonates tend to be poorly absorbed by the body and can cause irritation of the gullet (heartburn), so it's very important that you carefully follow the instructions for taking your medication:

  • Take it on an empty stomach with a glass or two of plain tap water. Other drinks may prevent the drug being properly absorbed by the body.
  • You shouldn't eat anything or drink anything other than tap water, or take any other medication or supplements for at least 30 minutes afterwards (45 minutes for Bonviva). This is to help ensure the medication is effectively absorbed.
  • You'll need to stay upright (sitting, standing or walking) for up to an hour afterwards to prevent the medication flowing back from your stomach and causing heartburn.
  • You shouldn't lie down after taking bisphosphonates until after you've eaten.

Intravenous treatment

If you can't tolerate bisphosphonates by mouth it's possible to have them through a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion) or as an injection:

  • Pamidronate is given as an infusion – this takes about an hour and can be repeated every three months.
  • Zoledronate is also given as an infusion – this takes 20 minutes or more but is only given once a year.
  • Ibandronate can be given by mouth (monthly) or by intravenous injection (every three months). The injection takes seconds.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.