Generic Name: zoledronic acid (ZOE le DRON ik AS id)
Brand Names: Reclast, Zometa
Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD. Last updated on Mar 6, 2019.
What is Zometa?
Zometa is used to treat high blood levels of calcium caused by cancer (also called hypercalcemia of malignancy). Zometa also treats multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer) or bone cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body.
The Reclast brand of zoledronic acid is used in men and women to treat or prevent osteoporosis caused by menopause or by taking steroids. Reclast is also used to increase bone mass in men who have osteoporosis, and to treat Paget's disease of bone in men and women.
You should not use Reclast and Zometa at the same time.
Zometa may harm an unborn baby. Avoid getting pregnant while using this medicine and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.
Zometa 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 Zometa. 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 Zometa 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.
Avoid having any type of dental surgery while you are being treated with Zometa. It may take longer than normal for you to recover.
Before taking this medicine
You should not be treated with Zometa if you are allergic to zoledronic acid.
You should not be treated with Zometa if are currently using any other bisphosphonate (such as alendronate, etidronate, ibandronate, pamidronate, risedronate, or tiludronate).
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
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); or
a dental problem (you may need a dental exam before you receive Zometa).
Zometa can cause serious kidney problems, especially if you are dehydrated, if you take diuretic medicine, or if you already have 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 Zometa, 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.
Zoledronic acid may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant. You may also need to use birth control for several weeks after you last received Zometa. This medicine can have long-lasting effects on your body.
Zoledronic acid can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How is Zometa given?
Zometa is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
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 Zometa. Your kidney function may also need to be checked.
Pay special attention to your dental hygiene while using this medicine. 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 zoledronic acid.
Zometa 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.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Zometa injection.
What happens if I overdose?
As this medicine is given by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that overdose will occur. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while receiving Zometa?
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.
Zometa side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Zometa: 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, numbness, or swelling;
kidney problems - little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;
severe joint, bone, or muscle pain; 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 Zometa side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation;
bone pain, muscle or joint pain;
fever or other flu symptoms;
pain in your arms or legs;
red or puffy eyes;
headache, tiredness; or
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 Zometa?
Zoledronic acid can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines, including: antivirals, chemotherapy, injected antibiotics, medicine for bowel disorders, medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection, injectable osteoporosis medication, and some pain or arthritis medicines (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.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Zometa 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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