GENERIC NAME: etidronate
BRAND NAME: Didronel
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Etidronate is in a class of drugs called bisphosphonates that is used for treating osteoporosis (reduced density of bone that leads to fractures) and bone pain from diseases such as metastatic breast cancer, multiple myeloma, and Paget's disease. The bisphosphonate class includes alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), pamidronate (Aredia), risedronate (Actonel), and tiludronate (Skelid). Bone is in a constant state of remodeling; new bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts while old bone is removed by cells called osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates strengthen bone by inhibiting bone removal by osteoclasts. After menopause, there is an increased rate of bone loss leading to osteoporosis, and etidronate has been shown to increase bone density and decrease fractures of bones. The FDA approved etidronate in September 1977.
Quick GuideOsteoporosis Pictures Slideshow: Are Your Bones at Risk?
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