The medication Aredia is a brand name version of the generic drug pamidronate. It’s a prescription intraveneous medication for the treatment of hypercalcemia, Paget's disease, and bone metastasis. Bone metastasis and hypercalcemia are common in cancer patients. Aredia is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994.
Aredia and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a medical condition in which the jaw bone doesn’t receive enough blood supply and the bone cells die. Osteonecrosis of the jaw may cause pain, loose teeth, exposed bone, loss of function, and disfigurement. In 2005, the FDA notified dental and medical healthcare professionals that cancer patients should receive a dental examination prior to receiving treatment with intravenous bisphosphonates such as Aredia. If the patient is administered Aredia, invasive dental procedures should be avoided. If the patient develops osteonecrosis of the jaw while taking Aredia, dental surgery can exacerbate the condition.
Aredia is slowly administered intravenously. The IV infusion can take 2 to 24 hours to complete, so you may be instructed on how to use an IV at home. However, do not attempt to inject this medicine if you don’t fully understand how to administer the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used. Make sure you combine your treatment with regular visits to your healthcare professional, and to follow your healthcare professional's orders regarding Aredia dosing. If you use Aredia to treat hypercalcemia, your healthcare professional may recommend following a low-calcium diet.
Aredia Health Risks and Side Effects
Aredia may cause side effects, and you should notify your healthcare professional if you believe you are experiencing unusual symptoms. Aredia can cause flu-like symptoms or pain in the bones, joints, or muscles. If you experience any symptoms of low calcium such as muscle spasms or numbness and tingling around the lips or mouth, tell your doctor right away. He or she may ask you to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent low blood calcium levels.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Sores in the jaw or mouth
- Jaw pain
- Increased or severe bone, joint, or muscle pain
- New or unusual hip, thigh, or groin pain
- Eye problems such as redness, itching, swelling, or sensitivity to light
- Change in the amount of urine
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Mental or mood changes such as irritability or confusion
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
This is not a complete list of possible side effects, so if you experience other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Aredia?
Be sure to discuss your medical history, all allergies to medications or foods, any planned dental procedures, and whether it is possible that you are pregnant. If you have a history of blood problems such as anemia, leukopenia, or thrombocytopenia, or heart or kidney problems, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
Are there any interactions between Aredia and other drugs or foods?
Yes, Aredia and other medicines can interact with each other, so tell your healthcare professional about any medications you take, including herbal supplements. The following substances are known to cause reactions with Aredia:
- Calcium-containing preparations
- Vitamin D-containing preparations
- Anti-infectives (medicine for infection) by mouth or by injection
- Carmustine (BiCNU)
- Cisplatin (Platinol)
- Combination pain medicine containing acetaminophen and aspirin (e.g., Excedrin) or other salicylates (with large amounts taken regularly)
- Cyclosporine (e.g., Sandimmune)
- Deferoxamine (e.g., Deserfal) (with long-term use)
- Gold salts (medicine for arthritis)
- Inflammation or pain medicine except narcotics
- Lithium (e.g., Lithane)
- Methotrexate (e.g., Rheumatrex, Trexall)
- Penicillamine (e.g. Cuprimine)
- Plicamycin (e.g., Mithracin)
- Tiopronin (e.g., Thiola)
Aredia - Getting Legal Help
While all medications have certain anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to make its products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible if patients are injured as the result of inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug, under a legal theory called "product liability."
If you or a loved one have experienced any unusual symptoms or medical conditions while taking Aredia, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also want to contact an experienced medical malpractice or product liability attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries caused by Aredia use.