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What is etidronate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- 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.
What brand names are available for etidronate?
Is etidronate available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for etidronate?
What are the uses for etidronate?
Etidronate is a medication prescribed for the treatment of Paget's disease and preventing heterotopic ossification (abnormal bone growth). Off-label uses include the treatment of hypercalcemia associated with cancer, and prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis and steroid-induced osteoporosis.
What are the side effects of etidronate?
Seek emergency medical attention if you have signs of an allergic reaction, which include:
Stop using etidronate and call your doctor immediately if you experience the following:
- severe pain in your joints, bones, or muscles,
- jaw pain, numbness, or swelling,
- severe diarrhea,
- muscle spasms or contractions, and
- numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, or in your fingers and toes.
Common side effects include:
This is not a complete list of side effects, as others may occur. Talk to your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
What is the dosage for etidronate?
- The recommended dose for treating adults with Paget's disease is 5-10 mg/kg daily for up to 6 months or 11 to 20/mg/kg daily for up to 3 months. The maximum dose is 20 mg/kg daily.
- The dose for preventing heterotopic ossification after hip replacement is 20 mg/kg daily one month before and for 3 months after surgery.
- For prevention of heterotopic ossification after spinal cord injury the dose is 20 mg/kg daily for 2 weeks then 10 mg/kg daily for 10 weeks.
Food (especially, calcium rich foods such as dairy products), antacids, vitamins with mineral supplements, and certain medications can interfere with the absorption of etidronate. Therefore, etidronate should be taken on an empty stomach 2 hours before or after eating or taking other medications.
What drugs or supplements interact with etidronate?
Avoid taking any other medicines for at least 2 hours after taking etidronate. This includes vitamins, calcium, and antacids. Some medicines can make it harder for your body to absorb etidronate.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with etidronate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about etidronate.
Is etidronate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
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Etidronate (Didronel) is a medication prescribed for the treatment of Paget's disease and preventing heterotopic ossification. Off-label uses include the treatment of hypercalcemia associated with cancer, prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis and steroid-induced osteoporosis. Review side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information prior to taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Learn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
Paget's disease is a chronic bone disorder due to irregular breakdown and formation of bone tissue. Symptoms of Paget's disease include bone pain, headaches and hearing loss, pressure on nerves, increased head size, hip pain, and damage to cartilage of joints.
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral, vertebral compression, compound, and comminuted. Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Premature menopause is when menopause occurs in a woman before the age of 40. Causes of premature menopause include premature ovarian failure, treatments for cancer and other conditions, surgical removal of the ovaries, or chronic diseases of the pituitary or thyroid gland, or psychiatric disorders. Treatment is directed at menopausal symptoms.
Spinal Cord Injury: Treatments and Rehabilitation
When vertebrae are broken or dislocated, the result can cause traumatic injury to the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury can have significant physiological consequences. One indication of the severity of a spinal cord injury are respiratory complications. Spinal cord injuries are classified as either. Rehabilitation and recovery of a spinal cord injury is dependant upon the type of injury.
Hypercalcemia (Elevated Calcium Levels)
Hypercalcemia is a condition in which calcium levels in the blood are elevated. Hypercalcemia is associated with other conditions such as hyperparathyroidism, lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney failure, and elevated levels of vitamin D. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, and kidney stones. Treatment depends on the cause of hypercalcemia.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.