About zoledronic acid
|Type of medicine||Bisphosphonate|
|Used for||Strengthening bone in some cancers
Hypercalcaemia (high levels of calcium in the blood) as a result of cancer
Treatment of osteoporosis in men and postmenopausal women
Zoledronic acid is used in the treatment of a number of different problems which affect bones.
In some cancers there can be an excessive breakdown of bone. As this happens, calcium is lost from the bone and seeps into the blood leading to higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood. Zoledronic acid works by binding to bone and reducing the rate at which it is broken down. This helps strengthen bones by preventing the loss of calcium and also reduces the high levels of calcium in the blood.
In Paget's disease, zoledronic acid works on bones to make them stronger and help prevent bone thickening. This helps ease symptoms such as pain, bone deformity and fracture.
In osteoporosis, zoledronic acid helps by preventing further loss of bone and by helping to rebuild lost bone. By doing this, it reduces the risk of spine and hip fractures.
Before having zoledronic acid
Before having zoledronic acid make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver, kidney or heart problems.
- If you are due to have any dental treatment (as your doctor may advise that your dental treatment is completed before starting zoledronic acid).
- If you are a woman and have not yet been through the menopause.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take zoledronic acid
- Zoledronic acid will be given to you by intravenous infusion in a hospital.
- The number of doses you require will depend upon the reason you are being treated with zoledronic acid.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is important that you do not become dehydrated during treatment with zoledronic acid. Your doctor will probably advise you drink a couple of glassfuls of water before and after your treatment.
- It may be necessary for you to take tablets of calcium and vitamin D as a supplement alongside this treatment. If so, your doctor will prescribe this for you.
- Good dental hygiene is important - this means that you must brush your teeth regularly and have regular dental check-ups.
- Tell your dentist that you are having zoledronic acid as some dental treatments will not be recommended for you.
- Remember to follow any lifestyle advice your doctor has given you. Eating a well-balanced diet, stopping smoking and taking regular exercise can help bones stay strong.
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored.
Can zoledronic acid cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Eye problems such as conjunctivitis||If this is troublesome, ask your pharmacist or doctor to recommend some eye drops|
|Feeling or being sick, gastro-intestinal upset||Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Fever, aches and pains, flu-like symptoms||Take plenty of rest|
|Dizziness, tiredness||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines until your reactions return to normal|
- If you experience any pain or numbness in your jaw, or any problems with your mouth or teeth, tell your doctor as soon as possible.
- If you experience any thigh, hip, or groin pain, tell your doctor as soon as possible.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Aclasta® 5 mg solution for infusion; Manufacturer's PIL, Aclasta® 5 mg solution for infusion, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zometa® 4mg/5ml Concentrate for Solution for Infusion; Manufacturer's PIL, Zometa® 4mg/5ml Concentrate for Solution for Infusion, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 26/10/2011||Document ID: 3882 Version: 27||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.