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Zoledronic acid

Pronunciation

Generic Name: zoledronic acid (ZOE-le-DRON-ik AS-id)
Brand Name: Zometa

Zoledronic acid is used for:

Treating high blood calcium levels caused by cancer. It is also used with other medicines to treat patients with certain types of cancer. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Zoledronic acid is a bisphosphonate. It works by decreasing the breakdown of bone. This reduces the amount of calcium that is released into the blood from bones and helps to lower your blood calcium level.

Do NOT use zoledronic acid if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in zoledronic acid
  • you have severe kidney problems and you also have a certain type of cancer (multiple myeloma) or cancer that has moved into the bones from other parts of the body
  • you are taking another medicine that contains zoledronic acid or any other bisphosphonate (eg, alendronate)

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

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using zoledronic acid:

Some medical conditions may interact with zoledronic acid. 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, or you are aspirin-sensitive
  • if you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to any other bisphosphonate (eg, alendronate)
  • if you have kidney problems, a bone infection, asthma, heart failure, low blood calcium levels, or liver problems
  • if you are dehydrated or have low blood volume
  • if you have high blood calcium levels caused by noncancerous conditions (eg, an overactive parathyroid gland)
  • if you have poor dental hygiene or other dental problems, or you will be having a dental procedure (eg, tooth extraction)
  • if you have had or will be having chemotherapy or radiation treatment

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

  • Corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) because the risk of jawbone problems may be increased
  • Aminoglycoside antibiotics (eg, gentamicin) or loop diuretics (eg, furosemide) because the risk of low blood calcium levels may be increased
  • Medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, amphotericin B, cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of kidney problems may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the kidney
  • Another medicine that contains zoledronic acid or another bisphosphonate (eg, alendronate) because they may increase the risk of zoledronic acid's side effects

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if zoledronic acid 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 zoledronic acid:

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

  • Zoledronic acid is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • Do not use zoledronic acid if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • If you miss a dose of zoledronic acid, contact your doctor right away.

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

Important safety information:

  • Zoledronic acid may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you use it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use zoledronic acid with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Ask your doctor about taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement while you are using zoledronic acid.
  • It is important to avoid becoming dehydrated while you are using zoledronic acid. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Zoledronic acid may cause jawbone problems in some patients. Your risk may be greater the longer you take zoledronic acid or if you have cancer, poor dental hygiene, ill-fitting dentures, or certain other conditions (eg, anemia, blood clotting problems, dental problems, infections). Your risk may also be greater if you have certain dental procedures or you use certain medicines or therapies (eg, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, radiation). Talk to your doctor about having a dental exam before you start to use zoledronic acid. Ask your doctor any questions you may have about dental treatment while you use zoledronic acid.
  • Proper dental care is important while you are using zoledronic acid. Brush and floss your teeth and visit the dentist regularly.
  • Certain dental procedures should be avoided if possible while you are using zoledronic acid. Check with your doctor and dentist before having any dental treatments while using zoledronic acid.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you use zoledronic acid before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Certain fractures of the thigh bone (femur) have been reported in patients using bisphosphonates. It is unknown if bisphosphonates contributed to the fractures. Contact your doctor right away if you experience hip, thigh, or groin pain. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Low blood calcium levels have been reported in patients who use zoledronic acid. In severe cases, this can be deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have muscle aches, cramps, or spasms (especially of the face, feet, or hands); numbness or tingling of the lips, tongue, fingers, or feet; irregular heartbeat; or seizures.
  • Worsening of asthma has been reported in patients taking medicines like this one. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including kidney function, complete blood cell counts, and blood electrolyte levels (eg, calcium, magnesium, phosphate), may be performed while you use zoledronic acid. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Zoledronic acid should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Zoledronic acid may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using zoledronic acid while you are pregnant. It is not known if zoledronic acid is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while using zoledronic acid.

Possible side effects of zoledronic acid:

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:

Back pain; constipation; decreased appetite; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; mild cough or sore throat; mild muscle or joint aches; nausea; stomach pain or upset; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness; weight loss.

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); blurred vision or other vision changes; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; confusion; decreased sense of touch; difficult or painful urination; fainting; fever, chills, or persistent cough or sore throat; flushing of the skin; irregular or slow heartbeat; jaw pain or swelling; mental or mood changes (eg, agitation, anxiety, depression); redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site or of the eyes; severe bone, joint, or muscle pain (especially in the hip, groin, or thigh); severe or persistent dizziness; shortness of breath; swelling of the ankles or feet; swelling or soreness of the mouth or tongue; trouble swallowing; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; very dry mouth or eyes.

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.

Proper storage of zoledronic acid:

Zoledronic acid is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using zoledronic acid at home, store the medicine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep zoledronic acid out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about zoledronic acid, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Zoledronic acid 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 zoledronic acid 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 zoledronic acid. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to zoledronic acid. 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 zoledronic acid.

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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