Didronel

Generic Name: etidronate (e ti DROE nate)
Brand Names: Didronel

What is Didronel?

Didronel (etidronate) belongs to a group of medicines called bisphosphonates (bis FOS fo nayts). It alters the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in the body.

Didronel is used to treat Paget's disease, and to treat conditions of irregular bone growth due to hip fracture or spinal cord injury.

Didronel may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not take Didronel if you have a condition called osteomalacia (softening of the bones), or a problem with the movement of muscles in your esophagus.

Take Didronel with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of water. Use only plain water (not mineral water) when taking a tablet. For at least the first 2 hours after taking Didronel, do not eat or drink anything other than plain water, and do not take any other medicines including vitamins or mineral supplements.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Especially avoid drinking milk or eating dairy products within 2 hours after taking Didronel. Also avoid taking supplements that contain calcium, magnesium, iron, or aluminum (such as in multivitamins with iron, and in many types of antacids)

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Didronel if you have a condition called osteomalacia (softening of the bones), or a problem with the movement of muscles in your esophagus.

To make sure Didronel is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diarrhea;

  • a bone fracture;

  • trouble swallowing;

  • a stomach or esophageal ulcer or disease; or

  • kidney disease.

In rare cases, this medicine may cause bone loss (osteonecrosis) in the jaw. Symptoms include jaw pain or numbness, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, or slow healing after dental work. The longer you use Didronel, the more likely you are to develop this condition.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw may be more likely if you have cancer or received chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other risk factors include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre existing dental problem.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Didronel will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

It is not known whether etidronate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Didronel?

ake Didronel exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not crush, chew, or suck the pill. Swallow it whole.

Take each Didronel tablet with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of water. Use only plain water (not mineral water) when taking a tablet.

For at least the first 2 hours after taking Didronel, do not eat or drink anything other than plain water, and do not take any other medicines including vitamins or mineral supplements.

It is important to take Didronel regularly to get the most benefit.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are using Didronel. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

After you stop taking Didronel, you must stay off the medication for at least 90 days before starting therapy again.

Your doctor will need to check your progress while you are this medicine.

Didronel is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include vomiting, numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes.

What should I avoid?

Avoid drinking milk or eating dairy products within 2 hours after taking Didronel. Also avoid taking supplements that contain calcium, magnesium, iron, or aluminum (such as in multivitamins with iron, and in many types of antacids).

Didronel side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Didronel: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Didronel and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • painful or difficult swallowing;

  • severe heartburn, burning pain in your upper stomach, or coughing up blood;

  • severe joint, bone, or muscle pain;

  • jaw pain, numbness, or swelling;

  • severe diarrhea;

  • bone fracture; or

  • a red, blistering, peeling skin rash.

Common Didronel side effects may include:

  • mild diarrhea;

  • headache, confusion;

  • muscle cramps, joint pain; or

  • numbness or tingly feeling.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Didronel?

Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Didronel, especially a blood thinner such as warfarin, Coumadin.

Other drugs may interact with etidronate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Didronel.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Didronel only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.03. Revision Date: 2013-05-30, 3:39:30 PM.

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