Zoledronic acid (Reclast) is used to prevent or treat osteoporosis (condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) in women who have undergone menopause ('change of life,' end of regular menstrual periods). Zoledronic acid (Reclast) is also used to treat osteoporosis in men, and to prevent or treat osteoporosis in men and women who are taking glucocorticoids (a type of corticosteroid medication that may cause osteoporosis). Zoledronic acid (Reclast) is also 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). Zoledronic acid (Zometa) is used to treat high levels of calcium in the blood that may be caused by certain types of cancer. Zoledronic acid (Zometa) is also used along with cancer chemotherapy to treat bone damage caused by multiple myeloma [cancer that begins in the plasma cells (white blood cells that produce substances needed to fight infection)] or by cancer that began in another part of the body but has spread to the bones. Zoledronic acid (Zometa) is not cancer chemotherapy, and it will not slow or stop the spread of cancer. However, it can be used to treat bone disease in patients who have cancer. Zoledronic acid is in a class of medications called bisphosphonates. It works by slowing bone breakdown, increasing bone density (thickness), and decreasing the amount of calcium released from the bones into the blood.
Zoledronic acid comes as a solution (liquid) to inject into a vein over at least 15 minutes. It is usually injected by a healthcare provider in a doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. When zoledronic acid injection is used to treat high blood levels of calcium caused by cancer it is usually given as a single dose. A second dose may be given at least 7 days after the first dose if blood calcium does not drop to normal levels or does not remain at normal levels. When zoledronic acid injection is used to treat bone damage caused by multiple myeloma or cancer that has spread to the bones, it is usually given once every 3 to 4 weeks. When zoledronic acid injection is used to treat osteoporosis in women who have undergone menopause, or in men, or to treat or prevent osteoporosis in people who are taking glucocorticoids, it is usually given once a year. When zoledronic acid is used to prevent osteoporosis in women who have undergone menopause, it is usually given once every 2 years. When zoledronic acid is used to treat Paget's disease of bone, it is usually given as a single dose, but additional doses may be given after some time has passed.
Be sure to drink at least 2 glasses of water or another liquid within a few hours before you receive zoledronic acid.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend a calcium supplement and a multivitamin containing vitamin D to take during your treatment. You should take these supplements every day as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor if there is any reason that you will not be able to take these supplements during your treatment.
You may experience a reaction during the first few days after you receive a dose of zoledronic acid injection. Symptoms of this reaction may include flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, chills, and bone, joint or muscle pain. These symptoms may begin during the first 3 days after you receive a dose of zoledronic acid injection and may last 3 to 14 days. Your doctor may tell you to take a nonprescription pain reliever/fever reducer after you receive zoledronic acid injection to prevent or treat these symptoms.
If you are receiving zoledronic acid injection to prevent or treat osteoporosis, you must continue to receive the medication as scheduled even if you are feeling well. You should talk to your doctor from time to time about whether you still need to be treated with this medication.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with zoledronic acid injection and each time you receive a dose. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website} to obtain the Medication Guide.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before receiving zoledronic acid injection,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
If you miss an appointment to receive a zoledronic acid infusion, call your doctor as soon as possible.
Zoledronic acid may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms, or those listed in the HOW or PRECAUTIONS sections, 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:
Zoledronic acid may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Being treated with a bisphosphonate medication such as zoledronic acid injection for osteoporosis may increase the risk that you will break your thigh bone(s). You may feel dull, aching pain in your hips, groin, or thighs for several weeks or months before the bone(s) break, and you may find that one or both of your thigh bones have broken even though you have not fallen or experienced other trauma. It is unusual for the thigh bone to break in healthy people, but people who have osteoporosis may break this bone even if they do not receive zoledronic acid injection. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving zoledronic acid injection.
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).
Your doctor will store this medication in his or her office and give it to you as needed.
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 will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to zoledronic acid.
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.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: November 15, 2011.