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Didronel Side Effects

Generic name: etidronate

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 20, 2023.

Note: This document contains side effect information about etidronate. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Didronel.

Applies to etidronate: oral tablet.

Serious side effects of Didronel

Along with its needed effects, etidronate (the active ingredient contained in Didronel) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking etidronate:

More common

Less common


Incidence not known

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking etidronate:

Symptoms of overdose

Other side effects of Didronel

Some side effects of etidronate may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

- at higher doses

Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to etidronate: intravenous solution, oral tablet.


Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, nausea

Rare (less than 0.1%): Burning of the tongue

Frequency not reported: Exacerbation of peptic ulcer disease including perforation in a few patients, gastritis

Postmarketing reports: Esophagitis; glossitis, duodenal ulcer[Ref]

Gastrointestinal side effects are more common with higher doses (10 to 20 mg/kg) and may be alleviated by dividing the daily dose.[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Erythema multiforme, alopecia

Frequency not reported: Angioedema, follicular eruption, macular rash, maculopapular rash, pruritus, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, urticaria[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Hypersensitivity reactions, including angioedema, urticaria, rash, pruritus[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Arthropathies (arthralgia and arthritis)

Rare (less than 0.1%): Atypical subtrochanteric and diaphyseal femoral fractures

Frequency not reported: Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), leg cramps, increased or recurrent bone pain at pagetic sites and onset of pain at previously asymptomatic sites

Postmarketing reports: Bone fracture, osteomalacia[Ref]

At higher doses the incidence of increased or recurrent bone pain at pagetic sites and/or onset of pain at previously asymptomatic sites rise. When therapy continues, pain resolves in some patients but persists in others.[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Confusion

Postmarketing reports: Depression, hallucination[Ref]

Nervous system

Rare (less than 0.1%): Paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy

Frequency not reported: Headache

Postmarketing reports: Neuropsychiatric events including amnesia[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Exacerbation of asthma[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Leukopenia, agranulocytosis pancytopenia[Ref]


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2. Saunders RL, Jr (1977) "Appearance of a gastric ulcer during diphosphonate therapy in a woman with CRST syndrome." South Med J, 70, p. 1327-9

3. Jaworski RC, Gibson M (1983) "Mitral and aortic valve abnormalities in a patient with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva." Pathology, 15, p. 325-8

4. (2022) "Product Information. Didronel I.V. (etidronate)." MGI Pharma Inc

5. (2022) "Product Information. Didronel (etidronate)." Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals

6. Lourwood DL (1998) "The pharmacology and therapeutic utility of bisphosphonates." Pharmacotherapy, 18, p. 779-89

7. vanStaa TP, Leufkens H, Abenhaim L, Cooper C (1998) "Postmarketing surveillance of the safety of cyclic etidronate." Pharmacotherapy, 18, p. 1121-8

8. Beauchesne MF, Miller PF (1999) "Etidronate and alendronate in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis." Ann Pharmacother, 33, p. 587-99

9. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics."

10. Mautalen C, Gonzalez D, Blumenfeld EL, Santini Araujo E, Schajowicz F (1986) "Spontaneous fractures of uninvolved bones in patients with Paget's disease during unduly prolonged treatment with disodium etidronate (EHDP)." Clin Orthop, Jun, p. 150-5

11. Boyce BF, Smith L, Fogelman I, Johnston E, Ralston S, Boyle IT (1984) "Focal osteomalacia due to low-dose diphosphonate therapy in Paget's disease." Lancet, 1, p. 821-4

12. Evans RA, Dunstan CR, Hills E, Wong SY (1983) "Pathologic fracture due to severe osteomalacia following low-dose diphosphonate treatment of Paget's disease of bone." Aust N Z J Med, 13, p. 277-9

13. Evans RA, MacDonald D (1983) "Diphosphonates and painful feet." Aust N Z J Med, 13, p. 175-6

14. Gallacher SJ, Boyle IT, Capell HA (1991) "Pseudogout associated with the use of cyclical etidronate therapy." Scott Med J, 36, p. 49

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.