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What is Aredia®?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Aredia® is a brand name of the generic medication pamidronate. This is a supplemental medication used along with chemotherapy drugs for patients with certain types of cancer, such as multiple myeloma. Patients with Paget's disease, which causes soft, weak, or deformed bones, may also use it. Aredia® works by decreasing high levels of calcium in the blood.

Some kinds of cancer may cause hypercalcemia, or high blood calcium. This occurs when the bones break down and release calcium into the bloodstream. The end result of this process is that the bones are weakened and more susceptible to fractures. Aredia®, a bisphosphonate drug, works by slowing the progression of bone loss.

This supportive care medication is given in the form of an injection by a health care professional. It is injected into a vein over the course of two to 24 hours. The treatment schedule will vary widely, depending on the patient's needs. A doctor may prescribe a single dose of Aredia® that may be repeated at least one week later. Other patients will have a dose once every three to four weeks, or once daily for three consecutive days.

Aredia® may cause an array of side effects, which the patient should report to the physician if they persist or become severe. They may include loss of appetite, stomach pain, and constipation. Nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores may occur. Some patients have reported excessive fatigue, insomnia, and dizziness. Swelling of the extremities, difficult urination, and pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site may also occur.

Serious side effects from the use of Aredia® warrant a doctor's immediate care, such as loosening of the teeth, numbness or heaviness of the jaw, and swollen or painful gums. Some patients may observe vomit that has the appearance of coffee grounds and bloody or tarry stools. A rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fainting have also been reported. Eye pain, numbness around the mouth area, and a sudden, unexplained tightening of the muscles may occur, as well as severe joint, bone, or muscle pain, which may persist for days, months, or possibly years following the injections.

Many of the possible side effects and complications of Aredia® concern the patient's jaw and mouth. Patients must observe the area closely and report any unusual changes immediately. Dental visits should be regularly scheduled, and patients must be meticulous with oral hygiene. Those who plan to undergo dental surgery while taking this medicine should alert the dentist to the presence of the drug. All dental treatments, surgical or otherwise, should also be approved by the prescribing doctor.

Before taking Aredia®, patients should fully disclose all other medical conditions they have, as well as other drugs and supplements they take. The doctor will evaluate the patient's drug and medical history to avoid potential interactions. In addition, patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding should never use this medication. It is strongly recommended that patients use a barrier method of birth control.

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