Q: What is Aredia?
A: Aredia (pamidronate) is used to treat hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood) that may occur with some types of cancer. It is also used to treat Paget's disease, a medical condition in which the body replaces healthy bones with weak bones, as well as to treat bone metastasis (spread of cancer).
Aredia is an intravenous bisphosphonate drug made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994.
Q: Has there been any recent news about Aredia?
A: In September 2004, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the FDA notified dental healthcare professionals of revisions to prescribing information to describe the occurrence of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) observed in cancer patients receiving treatment with intravenous bisphosphonates (such as Aredia). The revised prescribing information recommends that cancer patients receive a dental examination prior to starting bisphosphonate treatment, and that they avoid invasive dental procedures while on these medications.
Q: What is Osteonecrosis of the Jaw?
A: Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ), or 'jaw death,' is a medical condition in which the jawbone partially crumbles and dies. ONJ may cause severe pain, loose teeth, exposed bone, loss of function, and disfigurement.
Q: Are there any special instructions for taking Aredia?
A: Because Aredia is administered intravenously, it should only be administered by or under the supervision of your doctor or healthcare professional. Make sure to combine your treatment with regular visits to your healthcare professional, and to follow your healthcare professional's orders regarding Aredia dosing. For patients using Aredia to treat hypercalcemia, your healthcare professional may recommend following a low-calcium diet.
Q: What are the side effects associated with Aredia?
A: Aredia may cause side effects. Tell your healthcare professional if any of these symptoms are severe and/or persistent: bone, joint, or muscle pain, slight fever, loss of appetite, upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, heartburn, weakness, dizziness, headache, or increased sweating.
Tell your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any of the following: seizures; eye pain, swelling, itching, or redness; blurred vision or changes in vision; sensitivity to light; fast or irregular heartbeat; fainting; sore throat, high fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection; unusual bruising or bleeding; black and tarry stools; red blood in stools; bloody vomit; vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds; shortness of breath or fast breathing; chest pain; numbness or tingling in the arms, legs, lips, tongue, or the area around the mouth; muscle cramps, spasms, or sudden muscle tightening; depression; personality changes; difficult, frequent, or painful urination; swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs; difficulty swallowing; hoarseness; hives; rash; or itching.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Aredia?
A: You should tell your healthcare if you have or had any unusual allergic reaction to Aredia or other medications used to treat a high blood calcium or osteoporosis; if you are allergic to any other substances (foods, preservatives, or dyes); are or may be pregnant, are planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding; have blood problems (such as anemia, leukopenia, or thrombocytopenia); have heart problems; or have kidney problems.
Q: Are there any interactions between Aredia and other drugs or foods?
A: Aredia and certain other medicines can interact with each other. Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take - including prescription and non-prescription medicines.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of taking Aredia?
A: If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions while taking Aredia, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also wish to meet with an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries caused by Aredia use.