Zoledronic Acid Infusion

 

What is Zoledronic Acid?

Zoledronic acid, a bisphosphonate, is prescribed for the treatment of a number of different problems which affect bones. It is most commonly prescribed as a treatment for osteoporosis and it is also used to prevent bone damage in people with Paget's disease of bone. It is also given as a treatment for people with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

 

How is Zoledronic Acid Administered?

Zoledronic Acid is administered intravenously. The infusion is administered by the infusion centre nurse or by your GP and runs for approximately 15 minutes.

 

Where are Zoledronic Acid Infusions Performed?

Zoledronic acid can be administered at a number of places in New South Wales.

Lifescreen Australia, who are associated with Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology, have Community Infusion Centres at a number of locations.

Other service delivery options may be available such as the patient’s residential aged care facility or GP rooms / surgery.

At Hunter Pain Clinic, the infusion is organised by our nurses. One of our clinic nurses will fax and email a referral form to Lifescreen Australia. A member of staff from Lifescreen will contact you to arrange a date, time and location that suits.  A prescription for Zoledronic Acid will be faxed to your nominated pharmacy for you to collect prior to having the infusion.

 

What Are the Side Effects?

A full list of side effects can be found in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Side effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. You should speak with your doctor, clinic nurse or pharmacist if any of these side effects continue or become troublesome.

The following are commonly experienced side effects and how you may deal with them:

  • Nausea or gastrointestinal upset
    • Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids
  • Conjunctivitis, dizziness
    • Take care, especially if using tools or machines
  • Headache, fever, aches and pains, flu-like symptoms
    • Ask your doctor or pharmacity to recommend a suitable painkiller and have plenty of rest
  • Swelling or pain at the infusion site
    • This should soon pass, however, if there is any redness or other signs of infection, you should notify a healthcare professional

The following are less common but possible serious side effects:

  • A loose tooth or jaw pain with swelling or numbness
    • Speak with your doctor as soon as possible - these can be signs of a problem called osteonecrosis of the jaw.

 

Precautions

It is important that you tell your doctor, clinic nurse or infusion nurse prior to proceeding with a Zoledronic Acid infusion if:

  • You have any known contraindication to Zoledronic Acid
    • Renal impairment, bisphosphonate hypersensitivity, recent or current inflammation of the uvea (eye), pregnancy, lactation.
  • You have had any invasive dental procedures performed in the last three months or are likely to require invasive dental procedures in the next three months (e.g. root canal, tooth extraction).

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I stop oral bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Ossmax, Densate)?
    • YES. Oral bisphosphonates need to be ceased the day before your infusion and for one month following your infusion.
  • Do I need a blood test to check my calcium level prior to the infusion?
    • NO.
  • How long will it take to feel the effects of the infusion?
    • You should feel a reduction in your pain over a period of around 6 weeks.
  • Do the benefits out way the risks?
    • YES they do.
  • Is Zoledronic Acid PBS listed?
    • For certain conditions only. The clinic nurse will advise the cost of the medication.
  • Do I need to be monitored after the infusion?
    • YES, for a period of around 15 minutes.

 

If you require further explanation of the procedure, please contact the nurses at Hunter Pain Clinic on (02) 4985 1800.

 

* Image courtesy of keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net