Zoledronic Acid (Zometa®)

Printable PDF Version

About This Drug

Zoledronic acid is used to treat high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). It is also used in the treatment of multiple myeloma and/or bone lesions associated with the spread of cancer (bone metastases). It is given in the vein (IV).

Possible Side Effects

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Bone pain
  • Decrease in the number of red blood cells. This may make you feel more tired.

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 25% or greater of patients treated with zoledronic acid. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Changes in kidney function
  • Osteonecrosis of the jaw. This is a breakdown of the jawbone. It is a serious but rare health problem.
  • Severe joint, bone and muscle pain
  • Risk of hip and femur fractures
  • Severe low calcium, which can very rarely be life-threatening. You may experience numbness or tingling around your mouth or in your hands or feet. Other symptoms of low calcium are muscle stiffness, twitching, spasms, or cramps.

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team.

Important Information

  • Do not substitute or take at the same time Reclast®, which is another brand of zoledronic acid.

Treating Side Effects

  • Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
  • Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines that are available to help stop or lessen constipation.
  • If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help stop or lessen these symptoms.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • Tell your cancer doctor if you have any problems with your teeth or jaw before you start this drug. It is important that your dentist knows that you are on zoledronic acid. Give your dentist and your cancer doctor each other’s name and phone number so they may call each other if they have any questions.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of zoledronic acid with food.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and dietary supplements you are taking before starting this medicine as there are known drug interactions with zoledronic acid. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Decreased urine, or very dark urine
  • Pain that does not go away, or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • New pain in your hip, groin or thigh
  • Signs of osteonecrosis of the jaw such as pain, swelling or infection of the gums, loose teeth, poor healing of the gums, numbness or the feeling that your jaw is heavy
  • Signs of low calcium such as numbness or tingling around your mouth or in your hands and/or feet, muscle stiffness, twitching, spasms, or cramps
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn baby. For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Revised March 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.