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Reclast

Generic Name: zoledronic acid (ZOE le DRON ik AS id)
Brand Names: Reclast

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Aug 10, 2020.

What is Reclast?

Reclast (zoledronic acid) (sometimes called zoledronate) is a bisphosphonate medicine that alters bone formation and breakdown in the body. This can slow bone loss and may help prevent bone fractures.

Reclast is used to treat or prevent osteoporosis caused by menopause, or steroid use. This medicine also increases bone mass in men with osteoporosis. Reclast is for use when you have a high risk of bone fracture.

Reclast is also used to treat Paget's disease of bone.

Zometa is another brand of zoledronic acid used to treat high blood levels of calcium caused by cancer (also called hypercalcemia of malignancy). This medicine also treats multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer) or bone cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body. You should not use Reclast and Zometa at the same time.

Important Information

Reclast may harm an unborn baby. Avoid getting pregnant while using this medicine and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

Reclast can cause serious kidney problems, especially if you are dehydrated, if you take diuretic medicine, or if you already have kidney disease. Call your doctor if you urinate less than usual, if you have swelling in your feet or ankles, or if you feel tired or short of breath.

Also call your doctor if you have muscle spasms, numbness or tingling (in hands and feet or around the mouth), new or unusual hip pain, or severe pain in your joints, bones, or muscles.

Your doctor may recommend you have a dental exam for preventive tooth and gum care before you start your treatment with zoledronic acid. This is especially important if you have cancer, if you are undergoing chemotherapy or using steroids, or if you have poor dental health.

Some people using medicines similar to Reclast have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms of this condition may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums. You may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and pre-existing dental problems.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with Reclast if you are allergic to zoledronic acid.

You also should not receive Reclast if you have:

  • low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia); or

  • severe kidney disease.

You should not be treated with Reclast if are currently using any other bisphosphonate (such as alendronate, etidronate, ibandronate, pamidronate, risedronate, or tiludronate).

To make sure Reclast is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease;

  • hypocalcemia;

  • thyroid or parathyroid surgery;

  • surgery to remove part of your intestine;

  • asthma caused by taking aspirin;

  • any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption);

  • a dental problem (you may need a dental exam before you receive Reclast);

  • if you are dehydrated; or

  • if you take a diuretic or "water pill".

Zoledronic acid can cause serious kidney problems, especially if you are dehydrated, if you take diuretic medicine, or if you already have kidney disease.

This medicine may cause jaw bone problems (osteonecrosis). The risk is highest in people with cancer, blood cell disorders, pre-existing dental problems, or people treated with steroids, chemotherapy, or radiation. Ask your doctor about your own risk.

Zoledronic acid may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

You should not breastfeed while using Reclast.

How is Reclast given?

Reclast is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Reclast is sometimes given as a single dose only one time. It may also be given once every 1 or 2 years. How often you receive Reclast will depend on why you are using this medicine. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Drink at least 2 glasses of water within a few hours before your injection to keep from getting dehydrated.

You may need frequent medical tests to help your doctor determine how long to treat you with Reclast. Your kidney function may also need to be checked.

Pay special attention to your dental hygiene while using Reclast. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are using Reclast.

Reclast is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet changes and taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine. Reclast is often given for only 3 to 5 years.

Reclast dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Paget's Disease:

5 mg IV infusion, at a constant infusion rate, over no less than 15 minutes

Calcium and vitamin D supplementation:
-Calcium: 750 mg elemental calcium orally twice a day, or 500 mg orally three times a day
-Vitamin D: 800 international units orally daily, especially in the 2 weeks following drug administration

Comments: Retreatment may be considered in patients who have relapsed, based on increases in serum alkaline phosphatase or failure to achieve normalization of serum alkaline phosphatase.

Uses: Paget's disease of bone with elevations in serum alkaline phosphatase of two times or higher than upper limit of age- specific normal reference range

Usual Adult Dose for Osteoporosis:

5 mg IV infusion over no less than 15 minutes, once a year

Comments: An average of at least 1200 mg calcium and 800 to 1000 international units vitamin D daily is recommended.

Uses:
-Osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, diagnosed by bone mineral density or prevalent vertebral fracture (this drug reduces the incidence of fractures).
-To increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis.
-Treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in men and women who are either initiating or continuing systemic glucocorticoids in a daily dosage equivalent to 7.5 mg or greater of prednisone and are expected to remain on glucocorticoids for at least 12 months.

Usual Adult Dose for Prevention of Osteoporosis:

5 mg IV infusion over no less than 15 minutes, every 2 years

Uses:
-Prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
-Prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in men and women who are either initiating or continuing systemic glucocorticoids in a daily dosage equivalent to 7.5 mg or greater of prednisone and are expected to remain on glucocorticoids for at least 12 months.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Reclast injection.

What happens if I overdose?

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

What should I avoid while receiving Reclast?

Avoid smoking, or try to quit. Smoking can reduce your bone mineral density, making fractures more likely.

Avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol. Heavy drinking can also cause bone loss.

Reclast side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Reclast: hives; wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or unusual pain in your thigh or hip;

  • jaw pain or numbness, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, or slow healing after dental work;

  • severe joint, bone, or muscle pain;

  • kidney problems - little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired;

  • low red blood cells (anemia) - pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet; or

  • low calcium levels - muscle spasms or contractions, numbness or tingly feeling (around your mouth, or in your fingers and toes).

Serious side effects on the kidneys may be more likely in older adults.

Common Reclast side effects may include:

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.

What other drugs will affect Reclast?

Zoledronic acid can harm your kidneys, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, or pain or arthritis (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).

Other drugs may interact with zoledronic acid, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Reclast only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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