Bisphosphonate IV Therapy

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Bisphosphonates (biss FOSS fo nates) are a class of drug that include zoledronic (zoe leh DRAWN ik) acid, under the brand name Zometa® (zoh METTA) and pamidronate (pamih DRO nayt), under the brand name Aredia®. This medicine is used to make bones stronger and prevent bone fractures.

These medicines are given directly into a vein through an IV (intravenous) therapy treatment. This way of giving medicine is called an infusion.

The first dose of zoledronic acid or pamidronate is given in the hospital. Your child will stay overnight so the nurse can record the response to the medicine.

Before Starting this Medicine

A blood test will be done before the first dose of this medicine and from time to time during the treatment.

  • Tell your child’s doctor about all medicines your child is taking. Include any changes in medicines.

  • Tell your child’s doctor if she could be pregnant.

  • If your child is allergic to bisphosphonates, he or she should not take this medicine.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects often lessen over the course of treatment. Side effects may include:

  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever or pain in bones or joints

  • Signs of low calcium like muscle cramps, muscle spasms, numbness or tingling

  • Signs of low phosphorous like muscle weakness or mental changes

  • Allergic reaction

A rare side effect of this medicine is osteonecrosis of the jaw (part of the jaw bone dies). This is usually seen only in adults who have dental problems.

What to Do About Side Effects

If your child has a fever, or joint or bone pain, he or she may take Tylenol® (acetaminophen) or Advil® (ibuprofen) for up to 3 days after the infusion, as needed. If these side effects are not better within 3 days, call your child’s doctor.

When to Call for Emergency Help

Call for emergency help if your child has signs of an allergic reaction, such as:

  • Trouble breathing (call 911)

  • Swelling of the tongue (call 911)

  • Swelling of the hands, feet or ankles (take your child to Urgent Care or the Emergency Department).

When to Call the Bone Clinic

Call the Bone Clinic nurses weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (614) 722-4363 with all NON-EMERGENCY questions. On weekends and after 4:30 p.m., call the hospital operator at (614) 722-2000. The operator will contact your child’s doctor.

When to Call the Doctor

Call the doctor if you have any concerns after infusion treatments, or your child has:

  • Muscle cramps or spasms

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Side effects that have not improved within 3 days

  • Side effects that continue or are very bothersome

Other Advice about This Medicine

  • Tell your child’s doctor and pharmacist if your child has a strange or allergic reaction to any medicine.

  • You and your child should both learn the name, spelling and dose of this medicine.

  • Tell your child’s dentist and any other doctors who are treating your child that he or she is taking a bisphosphonate medicine.

Bisphosphonate IV Therapy (PDF)

HH-V-263 10/15 Copyright 2015, Nationwide Children's Hospital