Zometa (Reclast®, Aclasta, Zoledronic Acid)

Warning: If you are allergic to zoledronic acid do not use Zometa. In rare cases it can cause life threatening allergic reactions.

Indications:  This drug is used to treat patients with hypercalcemia (a condition where high blood calcium levels are present due to certain types of cancer.) It is also used to reduce bone complications due to multiple myeloma. This drug is part of a class called bisphosphonates. Zometa is also used in the treatment of Paget’s disease of bone (a condition in which the bones become painfully enlarged and deformed),

The medication works by reducing the amount of calcium released from your bones into the blood stream.

Dosage:  For patients with hypercalcemia, Zometa is given intravenously by a health care professional. Treatment time usually lasts 15 minutes, but the exact time is determined by your doctor. The dosage is also determined by a doctor. He or she will look at how you are responding to treatment and also look at your kidney function to determine if your dose needs to be adjusted. Fluids are given to patients through an IV before receiving this medication. This may help to reduce risk of kidney problems. Continue to drink lots of fluids after receiving this medication. When using the medication to treat multiple myeloma and bone problems caused by cancer, you will typically be given Zometa every 3 to 4 weeks. In most cases, patients are given calcium and vitamin D supplements to take daily in addition to this treatment.

Overdose:  Overdosing this drug can be fetal. Zometa must be given exactly as directed by a health professional that has experience in chemotherapy drugs. In fact, not only zoledronic acid, but taking any medication in the right dose is the first step to better treatment. An overdose of Zometa may cause serious kidney problems. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these warning signs of overdose:

  • seizures
  • confusion
  • double vision
  • shortness of breath
  • sudden tightening of muscles
  • muscle cramps or/and weakness
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • difficulty walking or/and speaking
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in fingers or toes

Interactions: Let your doctor know the medications you are currently taking before you start taking Zometa. You could be at risk for serious side effects if you are taking certain medications while on this drug. Some medicines may also affect how this medication works. Tell your doctor about the prescription, non-prescription and herbal medicines you may be taking. It’s important that you do not change any dosage or start any new medicines without the approval of your doctor. Patients should not take any other bisphosphonates or other medications used to treat bone loss while taking this medication.

Contraindications: Let your doctor know if you have any allergies to zoledronic acid. Severe allergic reactions can occur. There could also be inactive ingredients in this medicine that you may be allergic to so tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other allergies. You should also tell your doctor if you have had any previous kidney problems or dehydration or aspirin induced asthma. Although very rare, some people have had serious jawbone problems occur while taking this medication.. Consult with a doctor if you start to experience any jaw pain. If you plan to have any surgery or dental work done, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking Zometa. Pregnant women should not take this medication so talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant so you can find reliable forms of birth control. This medication may be passed through breast milk and could be potentially harmful to an infant so talk to your doctor if you are breast feeding.

Side effects:  In addition to attacking cancer cells, Zometa  also affects some normal cells and cause adverse effects in most patients. Most common Zometa side effects include  :

  • intense thirst
  • diarrhea
  • bone or joint pain
  • swollen legs
  • fatigue
  • white vaginal discharge
  • hair loss
  • heartburn
  • fever
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of weight
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • white patches in the mouth
  • redness of the eye or excessive tearing
  • redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in fingers or toes

If  the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • painful or swollen gums
  • Poor healing of the gums
  • loosening of the teeth
  • irregular heartbeat
  • numbness or the feeling of heaviness in the jaw
  • signs of infections: rash, hives, itching, fever, sore throat
  • swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue and/or throat
  • swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, and/or lower legs
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • numbness or tingling around the mouth
  • sudden tightening of muscles
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding.




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