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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Reclast, Zometa

Generic Name: zoledronic acid (Pronunciation: zole DRO nik AS sid)

What is zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)?

Zoledronic acid (sometimes called zoledronate) is in a group of medicines called bisphosphonates (bis FOS fo nayts). Zoledronic acid inhibits the release of calcium from bones.

Zoledronic acid is used to treat Paget's disease, and high blood levels of calcium caused by cancer (hypercalcemia of malignancy). Zoledronic acid also treats multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer) or bone cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body.

Zoledronic acid is also used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, and to increase bone mass in men with osteoporosis. Zoledronic acid is used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in people who will be taking certain steroid medicines for 12 months or longer.

Zoledronic acid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, increased thirst, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting;
  • swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath;
  • muscle spasms, numb or tingly feeling (especially around your mouth);
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • pale skin, easy bruising, unusual weakness;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • severe joint, bone, or muscle pain;
  • new or unusual pain in your thigh or hip; or
  • bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing).

Less serious side effects may include:

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 is the most important information I should know about zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)?

Zoledronic acid can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use other medicines harmful to the kidneys, such as: chemotherapy, antiviral medication, pain or arthritis medicine, injected antibiotics, or medicines to treat a bowel disorder or prevent organ transplant rejection. You may need dose adjustments or special tests if you use any of these medications.

Do not receive zoledronic acid without telling your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to zoledronic acid or similar medicine such as alendronate (Fosamax), etidronate (Didronel), ibandronate (Boniva), pamidronate (Aredia), risedronate (Actonel), or tiludronate (Skelid).

Your doctor may recommend you have a dental exam for preventive tooth and gum care before you start your treatment with zoledronic acid. 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 zoledronic acid 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 zoledronic acid. It may take longer than normal for you to recover.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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