Etidronate is used to treat Paget's disease of bone (a condition in which the bones are soft and weak and may be deformed, painful, or easily broken) and to prevent and treat heterotopic ossification (growth of bone tissue in an area of the body other than the skeleton) in people who have had total hip replacement surgery (surgery to replace the hip joint with an artificial joint) or in people who have had an injury to the spinal cord. Etidronate is in a class of medications called bisphosphonates. It works by slowing the breakdown of old bone and the formation of new bone.
Etidronate comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day on an empty stomach. Treatment for Paget's disease may be repeated if symptoms come back or worsen after some time has passed. Take etidronate at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take etidronate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Etidronate may not work properly and may damage the esophagus (tube that connects the mouth and stomach) or cause sores in the mouth if it is not taken according to the following instructions. Tell your doctor if you do not understand, you do not think you will remember, or you are unable to follow these instructions:
If you are taking etidronate to treat Paget's disease of bone or to prevent or treat heterotopic ossification, it may take some time for your condition to improve. Do not stop taking etidronate without talking to your doctor.
Etidronate is also used sometimes to treat and prevent osteoporosis (condition in which the bones become thin and weak and may break easily) caused by corticosteroids (a type of medication that may cause osteoporosis). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking etidronate,
It is important that you get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a balanced diet while you are taking etidronate. Your doctor will tell you which foods are good sources of these nutrients and how many servings you need each day. If you find it difficult to eat enough of these foods, tell your doctor. In that case, your doctor may prescribe or recommend a supplement.
If you have not already eaten, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If you have already eaten, take the missed dose 2 hours after you last ate. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Etidronate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Etidronate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to etidronate.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.