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Zoledronic acid, an osteoporosis drug: risk of side effects not-significant

The risks of developing kidney failure and a calcium deficiency from osteoporosis drug Zoledronic acid ( Aclasta; Reclast ) are extremely rare, according to researchers at Loyola University Health System ( LUHS ).

Zoledronic acid is commonly used to treat osteoporosis. The treatment strengthens bones by increasing the process by which bone is broken down and replaced with new bone tissue. While this medication is effective at preventing and treating osteoporosis, potential side effects include kidney failure and hypocalcemia.

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys fail to adequately filter waste products from the blood, while hypocalcemia is characterized by low calcium levels in the blood. This condition can lead to a variety of symptoms, including weakness, muscle cramps, excessive nervousness, headaches or uncontrollable twitching.

The aim of the study was to determine the severity and prevalence of kidney failure and hypocalcemia.

Researchers studied 237 patients before and after they received injections of Zoledronic acid. They found that a slight and clinically insignificant decline in calcium levels may be seen after the first infusion, but these effects appear to be transient.

The findings apply only to individuals with normal vitamin D levels and kidney function prior to infusion and cannot be generalized to those with renal insufficiency and existing calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. ( Xagena )

Source: American Society for Bone and Mineral Research ( ASBMR ) Annual Meeting, 2013