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Etidronate

Generic Name: etidronate (E-ti-DROE-nate)
Brand Name: Didronel

Etidronate is used for:

Treating adults with Paget disease, and preventing and treating abnormal bone growth following hip replacement surgery or spinal cord injury. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Etidronate is a bisphosphonate. It works by slowing the resorption of bone and allowing new bone to be formed.

Do NOT use etidronate if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in etidronate
  • you have low blood calcium levels or softening of the bones (osteomalacia)
  • you have esophagus problems, including difficulty swallowing or a narrow or blocked esophagus
  • you are unable to stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using etidronate:

Some medical conditions may interact with etidronate. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of stomach or bowel problems (eg, inflammation, ulcer), esophagus problems (eg, narrowing, blockage, heartburn, reflux disease, severe irritation), or kidney problems, or if you have difficult or painful swallowing
  • if you have low blood vitamin D levels, cancer, anemia, asthma, blood clotting problems, an infection, or calcium metabolism problems
  • if you have poor dental hygiene or other dental problems, or if you will be having a dental procedure
  • if you smoke or drink alcohol
  • if you take a corticosteroid (eg, prednisone), or if you have had or will be having chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • if you have a mental disorder or other condition that may decrease your ability to follow the dosing instructions for etidronate

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with etidronate. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of side effects such as bleeding may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if etidronate may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use etidronate:

Use etidronate as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take etidronate with 6 to 8 ounces (180 to 240 mL) of plain water first thing in the morning, at least 30 minutes before eating, drinking, or taking any other medicine. Etidronate works best if taken 60 minutes before eating, drinking, or taking any other medicine. Taking etidronate with orange juice, coffee, or mineral water may decrease its effectiveness.
  • Swallow whole. Do not break, crush, suck, or chew the tablet before swallowing.
  • Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking etidronate and until after you have had your first meal or snack of the day.
  • Do not take etidronate at bedtime or before getting out of bed.
  • Calcium or iron supplements, vitamins, or antacids containing calcium, magnesium, or aluminum may interfere with the absorption of etidronate. These medicines must be taken at least 2 hours after taking etidronate.
  • If you miss a dose of etidronate, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use etidronate.

Important safety information:

  • Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider. Be sure that you are getting adequate calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Weight-bearing exercise may also be beneficial to increase the calcium density of bones. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
  • Etidronate may cause bone jaw problems in some patients. Your risk may be greater the longer you take etidronate or if you have cancer, poor dental hygiene, or certain other conditions (eg, anemia, blood clotting problems, infections, dental problems). Your risk may also be greater if you use certain medicines or therapies (eg, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, radiation). Talk to your doctor about having a dental exam before you start to use etidronate. Ask your doctor any questions you may have about dental treatment while you use etidronate.
  • Proper dental care is important while you are taking etidronate. Brush and floss your teeth and visit the dentist regularly.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take etidronate before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Worsening of asthma has been reported in patients taking medicines like this one. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including bone thickness or density and blood calcium levels, may be performed while you use etidronate. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Etidronate should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if etidronate can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking etidronate contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using etidronate while you are pregnant. It is not known if etidronate is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using etidronate, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of etidronate:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; headache; indigestion; mild bone, muscle, or joint pain; mild stomach pain or upset; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); black, bloody, or tarry stools; chest pain; confusion; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; mental or mood changes (eg, depression, hallucinations); mouth sores; new, worsening, or severe heartburn; painful or difficult swallowing; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe bone, muscle, or joint pain; severe or persistent stomach pain; swelling or pain in your jaw; vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Do not lie down. Symptoms may include heartburn; numbness or tingling in the fingers; pain when swallowing; stomach upset or pain; ulcers; vomiting.

Proper storage of etidronate:

Store etidronate at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep etidronate out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about etidronate, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Etidronate is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take etidronate or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about etidronate. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to etidronate. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using etidronate.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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