Etidronate is used to treat a certain type of bone disease called Paget's disease. This disease weakens and deforms bones. Etidronate works by slowing bone loss, helping to keep your bones strong and less likely to break. It also helps reduce bone pain from this disease. This medication belongs to a class of drugs called bisphosphonates.
Etidronate is also used to prevent or treat bone problems that may occur after hip replacement surgery or spinal cord injury.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
Etidronate may also be used to treat bone loss (osteoporosis) if you are taking corticosteroid medications (such as prednisone) for long periods. In addition, this medication may be used to treat a high level of calcium in the blood that may occur with some cancers.
Follow these instructions very closely to make sure you absorb as much of the drug as possible and reduce the risk of injury to your esophagus. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Take etidronate with a full glass of plain water (6 to 8 ounces, 180 to 240 milliliters). Do not take it with any other beverage. After taking etidronate, stay fully upright (sitting, standing, or walking) and do not lie down for at least 30 minutes.
Do not take etidronate at the same time as food or other medications because they may prevent its absorption. Take this medication 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking any products that contain aluminum, calcium, iron, magnesium, or zinc. Some examples include antacids, certain forms of didanosine (chewable/dispersible buffered tablets or pediatric oral solution), quinapril, vitamins/minerals, dairy products (such as milk, yogurt), and calcium-enriched juice.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment. If stomach upset occurs, talk to your doctor about dividing your daily dose into 2 or 3 smaller doses during the day instead of taking one daily dose all at once.
For Paget's disease and bone problems after hip replacement or spinal cord injury, you will usually take this medication for 3 to 6 months. Do not take more of this medication or use it for longer than prescribed because the risk of side effects may increase.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
Stomach upset or diarrhea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: new or worsening bone/joint/muscle pain, new or unusual hip/thigh/groin pain, jaw pain, mental/mood changes, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).
This medication may rarely cause irritation and ulcers in your stomach or esophagus. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these serious side effects occur: new/severe/worsening heartburn, chest pain, difficult/painful swallowing, stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Before taking etidronate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other bisphosphonates (such as alendronate); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a certain bone disorder that causes soft/painful bones (osteomalacia).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, inability to sit upright or stand for at least 30 minutes, difficult/painful swallowing, esophagus problems (such as esophageal stricture, achalasia), stomach/intestinal problems (such as heartburn, ulcers, colitis), low level of calcium in the blood.
Some people taking etidronate may have serious jawbone problems. Your doctor should check your mouth before you start this medication. Tell your dentist that you are taking this medication before you have any dental work done. To help prevent jawbone problems, have regular dental exams and learn how to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you have jaw pain, tell your doctor and dentist right away.
Before having any surgery (especially dental procedures), tell your doctor and dentist about this medication and all other products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Your doctor or dentist may tell you to stop taking etidronate before your surgery. Ask for specific instructions about stopping or starting this medication.
Caution is advised if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the future. This medication may stay in your body for many years. Its effects on an unborn baby are not known. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment with this medication.
It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk, and the effect on a nursing infant is unknown. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also the How to Use section.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
This medication may affect the results of certain lab tests (bone imaging tests). Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: muscle spasms, mental/mood changes.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lifestyle changes that help promote healthy bones include increasing weight-bearing exercise, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, and eating well-balanced meals that contain adequate calcium and vitamin D. You may also need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Consult your doctor for specific advice.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as X-rays, calcium and other blood mineral levels, kidney function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, following the dose-timing instructions in the How to Use section. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Information last revised October 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
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