What is Zometa?
Zometa or zoledronic acid is an intravenous bisphosphonate drug used for the treatment of hypercalcemia or excess calcium in the blood which may occur with certain types of cancer. It is also used for treatment of multiple myeloma and bone metastasis.
Multiple myeloma is the tumors formed by cells in the bone marrow and bone metastasis is the spread of cancer.
Zometa was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001 for treatment of hypercalcemia and in 2002 for bone metastasis. It is made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Zometa and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
The FDA and Novartis issued a notification to healthcare professionals in September 2004 regarding the changes in the prescribing information, amending it to include the occurrence of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) in some cancer patients who receive intravenous bisphosphonates such as Zometa.
ONJ is a very serious condition which causes severe pain, exposed bone, loss of function in the affected area, loss of teeth and disfigurement because parts of the jawbone crumbles and dies.
In the amended prescribing information, a recommendation is put telling patients who receive the treatment to get a thorough dental examination before going through rounds of bisphosphonate treatment. They are also advised to avoid major dental treatments on the duration of the treatment.
Zometa should only be administered by a trained professional such as your healthcare provider.
Healthcare professionals should regularly check the progress of the patient after the administration of Zometa. If you experience any of the following while taking Zometa, let your healthcare professional know as soon as possible, as they could be signs of serious kidney problems:
- Blood in urine
- Decreased urine output
- Muscle Twitching
- Rapid Weight Gain
- Swelling of face, ankles, or hands
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
Zometa Health Risks and Side Effects
Like most drugs, there may be side effects to Zometa. Let your doctor know if you experience any of this symptoms and they become persistent or more severe:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Difficulty swallowing
- Excessive worry
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Pain anywhere in the body
- Red, swollen, or teary eyes
- Redness or swelling in the place where you received your injection
- Stomach pain
- Swelling, redness, irritation, burning, or itching of the vagina
- Upset stomach
- Weight loss
- White patches in the mouth
- White vaginal discharge
The following side effects are not so common, so let your doctor know immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain, and other flu-like symptoms
- Chest pain
- Decreased urination
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty walking
- Double vision
- Dry mouth
- Excessive thirst
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- Fever, chills, and other signs of infection
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- Jaw or mouth pain
- Leg swelling
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness, burning, or tingling in fingers or toes
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden tightening of muscles
- Sunken eyes
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
What Should I Tell My Doctor?
Let your doctor know if you had or have any allergic reaction to Zometa or any other medications that are used for high blood calcium or osteoporosis treatment. Let your healthcare professional know too if you have any allergies related to other substances such as chemicals or foods.
Also let your healthcare professional know if you:
- Are breast-feeding
- Are or may be pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- Are planning to have dental procedures or surgery while receiving Zometa treatment
- Experience dehydration
- Have asthma
- Have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment
- Have heart disease
- Have kidney disease
- Have liver problems
- Have poor dental hygiene
Are There Any Interactions With Drugs or Foods?
Consult with your doctor before taking Zometa if you are taking any other prescription or non-prescription medications, vitamins, or herbals supplements.
Zometa – Get Legal Help
Even if most medicines are expected to have side effects, it is the duty of the manufacturer of these medicines to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with the drugs they produce. Failure to give adequate warning to the public and the medical community of the dangers of the drug makes the manufacturer liable under product liability for any injury that may be caused by their product.
If you or your loved one has suffered any of the dangerous symptoms or unusual reaction after taking Zyometa, go to your doctor or the hospital as soon as possible. You may also consider consulting with an experienced attorney in order to get more information regarding your rights and possible remedies for the injuries you suffered because of the use of Zometa.