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

Didronel 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.

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

Do NOT use Didronel if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Didronel
  • 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.

Before using Didronel:

Some medical conditions may interact with Didronel. 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 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 Didronel
  • if you are taking any medicines that can cause jaw bone problems. There are many medicines that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Didronel. 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
  • Corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) or angiogenesis inhibitors (eg, bevacizumab) because the risk of jawbone problems may be increased

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

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

  • Take Didronel 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. Didronel works best if taken 60 minutes before eating, drinking, or taking any other medicine. Taking Didronel 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 Didronel and until after you have had your first meal or snack of the day.
  • Do not take Didronel 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 Didronel. These medicines must be taken at least 2 hours after taking Didronel.
  • If you miss a dose of Didronel, 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 Didronel.

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Didronel before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • 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.
  • Didronel may cause bone jaw problems in some patients. Your risk may be greater the longer you take Didronel 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 Didronel. Ask your doctor any questions you may have about dental treatment while you use Didronel.
  • Proper dental care is important while you are taking Didronel. Brush and floss your teeth and visit the dentist regularly.
  • 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 Didronel. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Didronel should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if Didronel can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking Didronel contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Didronel while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using Didronel, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Didronel:

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.

Proper storage of Didronel:

Store Didronel 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 Didronel out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

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

Issue Date: June 3, 2015