Zometa (zoledronic acid ) Osteoporosis drug

Zometa ( zoledronic acid ) If you have had cancer, your physician may prescribe this drug. It is has been approved for use with patients who have bone metastases from cancer AND it can prevent, delay and even treat complications – including pain and mobility problems.

The drug is also included on this site because it has been studied as a once-a-year treatment for women who develop Osteoporosis after menopause,

One thing you might want to know about this drug is that is belongs to the bisphosphonate class of drugs. ( Actonel, Bniva, Clodronate, Fosamax, Minodronate Reclast (Aclasta) are other bisphosphonates )

All these drugs work by binding to the mineral surface of your bone and they interfere with the work of osteoclasts. (The bone cells that remove 'old' bone.) And if old bone is not removed, then your bones show up as 'denser' on a dexa scan. (You have probably read or seen on news reports that some who have used bisphosophonates for several years have suffered sudden fractures. Some think that these fractures happen because the bones have too much 'old bone'.... bone the body would normally remove if they were not on the bisphosphonate.



Who makes Zometa?

The drug is manufactured by Novartis, one of the world's largest drug companies. Concerning it use with cancer patients, the company says that this is the only bisphosphonate "effective and approved in preventing SREs in multiple tumor types, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, multiple myeloma and other solid tumor types." Questions people frequently ask about Zometa

  1. How is this drug taken? The drug is administered intravenously at your physicians office. Infusions usually take 15 minutes so treatment does not involved a long, complicated visit.
  2. Are there any person who should NOT take this drug?
  3. Anyone who is pregnant or breast feeding should not use this drug. Also is you have a sensitivity to any of the bisphosphonates you should not use this medication.
  4. Are there potential side effects? Yes, there can be side effects and these are just like the side effects of the other bisphosphonates.                                         Some people experience a rise in body temperature or they get flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, chills, and bone, joint, and/or muscle pain; headache). There is also the possibility of be an elevation of your serum creatinine levels or there can be renal (kidney) impairment or renal failure. Also anemia and conjunctivitis have been reported as side effects.                                                                                                                                                          The most frequent bad reaction when taking this drug is a reduction in renal calcium excretion and it can be accompanied by a fall in serum phosphate levels (hypophosphataemia). Serum calcium may fall to asymptomatic hypocalcaemia levels. Also, there are occasional hypersensitivity reactions such as: “hypertension, shortness of breath, dizziness, sleeping disturbances gastrointestinal reactions, such as nausea and vomiting or diarrhea; loss of appetite; local reactions at the infusion site such as redness or swelling; some cases of rash and pruritus. “ (Novartis)                                                                                                                                                                               Now you may not have any of these negative side effects but I list them so you can be aware that if any of them happen,, that you should call your health care provider right away. In fact the most patients are advised to call their doctors if they experience anything new or different after beginning this drug. And finally persons taking bisphosphonates who have had dental work have sometimes experienced Osteonecrosis of the jaw. If you are taking Zometa or any other bisphosphonate, you should tell your dentist on your next visit.                                                                                                
  5. Is there anything I should discuss with my doctor before taking this drug? Yes. Be sure to list all the prescription drugs and give that list to your doctor before you take this drug. Also list all the ‘over the counter’ non-prescription drugs you use – including pain medications, vitamins and other supplements. This is important since your doctor many need to adjust your dosage depending on what else you are taking. If after treatment you want to use a different over the counter medication or supplement, check with your pharmacist. Ask if there would be any problem given the fact that you are taking Zometa (zoledronic acid ). Your pharmacist should be able to give you such advice.

Source: Novartis, the company that makes this drug. I know that some of you like to read the scientific studies about things. One such study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. To read it just click Zometa (zolendronic acid) Once yearly treatment for Osteoporosis

Finally, the  maker of this drug offers a page of useful information about the drug and its place in CANCER treatments. You can read that here: Zometa information for those with cancer

Special update

In recent years there have been reports of serious side effects (and some lawsuits) from patients who used bisphonsphantes long term. Do discuss possible 'osteonecrosis' with your physician if you are considering this Osteoporosis treatment.

Click here for: More pharmeceutical treatments for bone loss

NOTE: If you have used Zometa for Osteoporosis or Osteopenia and want to share your experience with others, please us the form below. (NOTE: I do not publish anonymous posts or posts with links.)  Thank you for sharing.

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