Aredia or pamidronate helps in treating hypercalcemia, a condition where there is excess calcium in the blood which may happen with some other kinds of cancer. It can cure an illness called Paget’s disease where the healthy bones become fragile. It helps in treating bone metastasis, a condition where the cancer cells are already spreading in some parts of the body.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation produces intravenous bisphosphonate medicine including Aredia which was given approval by the US Food and Drug Administration or US-FDA in 1994.
Aredia and the Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
Novartis Pharmaceuticals and US-Food and Drug Administration or US-FDA informed dental healthcare experts in September 2004 about some changes in prescribing information to define the incidence of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw or ONJ in cancer patients who are going through intravenous bisphosphonate procedures like Aredia. ONJ is a condition characterized by acute pain, exposed bones, loss of teeth, malfunction and disfigurement of the teeth.
The modified prescribing information strongly suggests that cancer patients should go through a dental examination before taking the bisphosphonate medications and inhibit from any invasive dental treatments while undergoing this kind of medication.
Since Aredia is given through intravenous method, it must only be administered by licensed healthcare professionals or your physician. Strictly observe the instructions of your physician or healthcare professional about the dosage and taking of Aredia.
It is also recommended that you must visit your healthcare professional or physician regularly to monitor your progress while taking the Aredia medication. Your physician or the healthcare professional may recommend a low-calcium diet.
Health Risks and Side Effects of Aredia
Aredia may have some side effects. Inform immediately your physician or healthcare expert if any of these signs are present and persistent:
- Headache and slight fever
- Bone, muscle, and joint pains
- Upset stomach
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Increased sweating
Immediately notify your physician or healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of the symptoms:
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision or changes in vision
- Eye pain, swelling, itching, or redness of the eyes
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath or fast breathing
- Chest pain
- Sore throat, high fever, cough, chills, or other signs of infection
- Vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds
- Bloody vomiting
- Swelling of the face, tongue, lips, eyes, throat, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, the part around the mouth, arms, and legs
- Muscle cramps, spasms, or abrupt tightening of the muscles
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Black and tarry stools
- Red blood in stools
- Difficult, frequent, or painful urination
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Personality changes
What Should my Physician or Healthcare Professional Know About?
Advise your physician or healthcare professional about:
- Having or had any allergic reaction to Aredia or any bisphosphonate medicines that are applied to cure osteoporosis; or inform him/her of any allergy on other substances including foods, dyes, or preservatives.
- Your intention of becoming pregnant or being pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. There were some studies where rats were given higher dosage of Aredia and results revealed that these rats displayed reduced fertility, intensify the duration of pregnancy, mortility among the baby rats. Aredia, though, has not been tested and studied in pregnant women and it is not known if Aredia gets into the breast milk.
- Blood problems like anemia, thrombocytopenia, or leukopenia.
- Heart problems.
- Problems in kidneys.
Does Aredia have Interactions with Drugs and Foods?
Aredia and some other drugs are allowed to interact with one another. Inform your physician or healthcare professional about all the medicines you are or have taken, including medicines with prescription or without prescription.
Before receiving Aredia and some other medicines, it is crucial to notify your physician or healthcare professional if you are taking any of the following:
- Anti-infectives also known as medicines for infections, are taken orally or by injection
- Calcium-containing preparations
- Cisplatin or Platinol
- Camustine or BiCNU
- Cylosperine such as Sandimmune
- Combination of pain killers with acetaminophen and aspirin like Excedrin, or other salicutes which is taken in big amount regularly
- Vitamin D with preparations
- Deferoxamine like Deserfal, with long-term use
- Gold salts which is known to treat arthritis
- Inflammation or pain killers except narcotics
- Methotrexate like Rheumatrex and Trexall
- Lithium like Lithane
- Plicamycin such as Methracin
- Penicillamine like Cuprimine
- Trioproning such as Thiola
Getting Legal Help
All treatments have some side effects and the producer of these drugs is responsible to produce safe medicines and inform properly the medical community and the general public about its health risks related to the drugs. If the producers fail to do these things, they can be held legally liable if patients are hurt due to insufficient information and warnings, or the unreasonable and harmful properties of the drugs, under a legal law known as “product liability.”
When you or any of the people you know experience any signs or medical conditions, notify immediately your physician or healthcare staff. In extreme cases, you may want to meet and discuss with a lawyer about your alternatives and to safeguard your rights to a legal action for any damages due to the usage of Aredia.
Click here and find out more about a lawyer’s role in the pharmaceutical liability cases.