Pamidronate disodium (Aredia)

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Pamidronate disodium is given by intravenous infusion in a hospital clinic.

Your doctor may recommend that you see your dentist before you have this treatment

Take care to avoid becoming dehydrated during treatment - ask your doctor how much you should drink.

Type of medicineBisphosphonate
Used forTo prevent bone pain in people with cancer that has spread to the bone; to reduce high levels of calcium in the blood caused by cancer; Paget's disease of bone
Also calledAredia®
Available asInjection

Pamidronate disodium, a bisphosphonate, is prescribed for a number of different problems which affect bones. It can be prescribed to ease bone pain or to reduce hypercalcaemia associated with some cancers. It is also prescribed for people with Paget's disease of bone to prevent bone damage.

In some cancers there can be an excessive breakdown of bone. As this happens, calcium is lost from the bone and seeps into the blood, leading to higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood. This is called hypercalcaemia. Pamidronate disodium binds to bone and reduces the rate at which it is broken down. This helps strengthen bones by preventing the loss of calcium and this reduces the high levels of calcium in the blood.

In Paget's disease of bone, pamidronate disodium works on bones to make them stronger and help prevent bone thickening. This helps ease symptoms such as pain, bone damage and fracture.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start treatment it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you are due to have any dental treatment in the near future, or if you have not recently had a dental check-up.
  • If you have a heart condition.
  • If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work, or the way your liver works.
  • If you have ever had any surgery on your thyroid.
  • If you have been told you have low amounts of calcium in your blood.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start the treatment, ask to read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about pamidronate disodium and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from having it.
  • Pamidronate disodium will be given to you in a hospital clinic. It will be made up by the hospital staff and administered by intravenous infusion - this means that it is added into an injection fluid and injected slowly (over an hour or so) into one of your veins.
  • The number of doses you require will depend upon the reason why it has been prescribed for you. Some people require only a single dose, others require a short course of treatment.
  • It is important that you do not become dehydrated during treatment with pamidronate disodium. Your doctor will probably advise you drink a couple of glassfuls of water before and after your treatment.
  • It may be necessary for you to take tablets of calcium and vitamin D as a supplement alongside this treatment. If so, your doctor will prescribe this for you.
  • Good dental hygiene is important during treatment with this medicine - this means that you must brush your teeth regularly and have regular dental check-ups. Tell your dentist that you are having treatment with pamidronate disodium, as some dental treatments may not be recommended for you.
  • Remember to follow any lifestyle advice your doctor has given you. Eating a well-balanced diet, stopping smoking and taking regular exercise can help bones stay strong.
  • Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. You will need to have regular blood tests during this treatment.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with pamidronate disodium. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common pamidronate disodium side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sleepy or tiredDo not drive or use tools or machines straight after receiving treatment
Fever and flu-like symptoms, headache, other aches and painsAsk your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller, and take plenty of rest
Stomach upset (such as feeling sick, abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea or constipation)Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids
Sleeping problems, rash, eye problems (such as conjunctivitis), tingling feelings, feeling flushedIf any become troublesome, speak with your doctor
Changes in heart rhythm and changes to some blood test resultsYour doctor will monitor for these
Less common, but possibly serious side-effectsWhat should I do if I experience this?
Pain in your thigh, hip, or groinSpeak with your doctor - these can be signs of a thighbone fracture
A loose tooth, or jaw pain with swelling or numbnessSpeak with your doctor - these can be signs of a problem called osteonecrosis of the jaw

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Always read the printed information leaflet that comes with your medicine.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
28889 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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