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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Zoledronic acid (Zometa®, Reclast®, Aclasta®,)

Zoledronic acid

Brand Names: Reclast®, Zometa®, Zometa Concentrate, Aclasta®

Zoledronic acid is used to treat hypercalcemia, a condition that may occur in patients with some types of cancer, bone damage caused by multiple myeloma, and certain types of bone metastases.

Zoledronic acid is not an anticancer drug, and it will not stop or slow the spread of cancer. This medication is used to treat bone conditions in patients who have cancer. Zoledronic acid is in a class of drugs called bisphosphonates. It slows the breakdown of bones, increases bone density, and decreases the amount of calcium being released by the bones into the blood.

This medication comes as a liquid that is injected into a vein (intravenous). Each administration takes about 15 minutes. How often zoledronic acid is given depends on the condition being treated. When there are high levels of calcium in the blood caused by cancer, this drug is usually given as a single dose, with a second dose given a week later if calcium levels are not remaining normal. For bone damage caused by multiple myeloma or cancer that has spread to the bones, zoledronic acid is usually given once every 3 to 4 weeks. Your doctor will recommend the approach that is best for you.

Your doctor may suggest taking a calcium supplement and a multivitamin containing vitamin D during treatment. Drinking extra fluids during treatment may help prevent any kidney-related side effects.

Zoledronic acid side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between zoledronic acid and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had a liver tumor, liver disease, or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.

Be sure to inform your doctor if you have ever had low levels of calcium in your blood, if you have had thyroid or small intestine surgery, heart problems, anemia, problems with mouth teeth, or bums, asthma, or any condition that prevents your body from absorbing nutrients properly.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Redness where the medicine was injected
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Mouth sores
  • Red, teary or water eyes
  • Agitation, depression, worry or other mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling, redness, irritation, burning, or itching of the vagina
  • Hair loss
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in fingers or toes

Some of zoledronic acid’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Rash, hives, itching
  • Swelling of facial features, throat, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Upper chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness or tingling around the mouth
  • Sudden tightening of muscle
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Heavy feeling in the jaw
  • Dull, aching pain in the hips, groin, or thighs

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of zoledronic acid with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Zoledronic acid for cancer treatment

Zoledronic acid is approved by the FDA for the following cancer treatments:

  • Hypercalcemia of malignancy (that is, excess calcium in the bloodstream resulting from cancer)
  • Patients with multiple myeloma and patients with documented bone metastases from solid tumors, in conjunction with standard anticancer therapy. For prostate cancer, the disease should have progressed after treatment with at least one hormonal therapy

At CTCA, our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.