Clodronic Acid (Injection, Oral)

If you have been prescribed clodronic acid, then below you can find a lot of useful information regarding avoiding any unwanted side effects and using it safely.

Overview

If you are suffering from cancer, then clodronic acid is a drug you may have been prescribed in order to maintain bone health and treat high levels of calcium in your blood. This is otherwise known as hypercalcemia. Clodronic acid is prescribed either in tablet or injection form, and you should not attempt to self-prescribe or use clodronic acid unless told so by a trained doctor.

Condition(s) treated

  • Cancer

Type of medicine

  • Tablet
  • Capsule
  • Solution for injection

Side effects

Taking clodronic acid can lead to a number of different side effects, some unpleasant and some less so. Below, you can find a large list of most of the known side effects the medication can cause. Each is ranked by how likely it is to occur, but do be aware that some patients may suffer from none of the below and others may suffer from multiple side effects. Also, though this list is extensive, it does not necessarily include all possible side effects. If you are experiencing any unpleasant side effects not listed below, then you can seek help or advice by speaking to your doctor.

The effects directly below are the most severe and, if you experience any of the following at all, you should contact your doctor immediately, as you may need urgent medical assistance.

Rare

  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Mood or mental changes
  • Problems with breathing
  • Unusual heartbeats
  • Muscle cramps in hands, legs, arms, feet, or face
  • Throat sores
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Shaking of muscles
  • Swelling of hands, face, or ankles
  • Problems urinating

Below you can find typical symptoms of you having overdosed on clodronic acid. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor immediately and seek emergency medical assistance:

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Muscle cramps
  • Unusual heartbeat
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Problems with breathing
  • Trouble urinating
  • Mood or mental changes

As well as those, there are some side effects which, though not necessarily pleasant, don't pose an immediate threat to your health. If they are troubling you, however, then you can contact your doctor, who may be able to advise you on methods to reduce the effects or possibly be able to alter your dosage to offset the unpleasantness.

More common

  • Increased bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting and nausea

Less common

  • Mouth irritation
  • Cloudy urine

Dosage

Below you can find an average dosage prescribed to adults and children for each form of clodronic acid. However, do be aware that your exact prescription could vary greatly from other patients' prescriptions, as the dosage depends on multiple factors. Do not follow the above dosage guidelines unless they are the same as those that your doctor has prescribed.

If you feel like your dosage is too low, then first consult with your doctor, as they know the best time to increase this amount. They may also vary the frequency or strength of dosages, or time between each dose.

Oral dosage:

- Adults: between 1600 mg and 2400 mg, given in either one or two portions each day. You should not exceed 3200 mg in a 24 hour period. You should take it at least two hours after you have consumed food.
- Children: this will be calculated and determined by your doctor.

Injection:

- Adults: 300 mg in a solution that is infused over over a two hour period. This will be given once a day, each day, for between two and five days. It will not be given for longer than a seven day period. Be aware, if you suffer from kidney problems, this dosage will be lower.
- Children: this will be calculated and determined by your doctor.

Interactions

Clodronic acid is known to interact with a variety of other drugs, and, in many cases, these interactions can be avoided or limited. For this reason, you should be honest with your doctor about any other drugs you are taking, including prescription, non-prescription, herbal remedies and supplements. If two drugs are found to react with one another, it may be that your doctor can alter the dose or stop you from taking either one, or switch the drugs you're taking to allow the best possible outcome.

Similarly, clodronic acid is also known to react with certain foods, drinks and even possibly tobacco. Make your doctor fully aware of your complete dietary intake, as they may advise you to adjust it somewhat. It may be that your intake of alcohol or tobacco could lead to unwanted side effects with the clodronic acid, and they can advise you accordingly.

Finally, be honest with the doctor about the full extent of your health. If you suffer from either of the following below, then it may be recommended you do not begin taking clodronic acid at this time:

- Kidney problems: clodronic acid could cause a worsening of your kidney problems, so you may be advised not to take it yet, or to have a smaller dose.

- Stomach burning, cramping, nausea or pain: orally taking clodronic acid could cause a particularly bad reaction with any existing stomach pains.

Warnings

Before taking clodronic acid, you will first have sat down with your doctor to discuss the various drugs available to you to help improve your condition or reduce the effects cancer will have. Though clodronic acid can be useful, you need to be upfront and honest with your doctor regarding a number of different factors. This includes informing them about any allergies you have, such as allergies to foods, animals drugs, dyes and preservatives, as well as if you have had any known reactions to clodronic acid before.

Any studies performed using clodronic acid have only been done on adults, so there is no clear information regarding the safety of using it on children. The benefits and potential risks of your child taking clodronic acid will need to be weighed by your doctor.

Similarly, there are no particular studies that have been performed on the effects of clodronic acid on older patients. If you are a geriatric patient, then your doctor will need to look closely at any other aspects of your health to see if you using it presents an increased risk.

Studies have shown harmful effects on infants if this drug is used whilst the patient is breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding while taking clodronic acid, you should stop immediately. Your doctor will need to prescribe you an alternative form of treatment.

Before and during you taking clodronic acid, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

As with all elements of your cancer care, be sure to maintain regular appointments with your doctor, where they can keep an eye on your condition. In particular, regarding clodronic acid, they can carefully monitor your calcium levels to ensure it is having the intended effect, as well as reducing any unwanted side effects.

If you are on the intravenous form of clodronic acid, do not miss any appointments for your scheduled infusion. These need to be taken each day close together to ensure maximum benefits. Failure to do so will limit their effectiveness of the treatment.

Storage

Your clodronic acid capsules should be stored in a closed container and kept in a safe environment at room temperature. Do not expose the container to direct sunlight, heat or moisture, as well as avoid it being frozen. You must keep children away from the drug, as it is potentially harmful.

Once you are done on your course of treatment, dispose of any remaining medication in a safe and sensible manner as instructed by your doctor. If you find that it is out of date, dispose of it and obtain an in-date prescription before continuing.

When receiving clodronic acid intravenously, it will take place in a hospital setting by a trained nurse or doctor. You will not need to worry about storing the medication, as it is their responsibility.

Summary

If you are a cancer patient, then clodronic acid could potentially be a very useful drug for reducing the effects of hypercalcemia, as well as for helping you to maintain strong bones if cancer has recently spread to that part of your body. Before beginning on a course of treatment with clodronic acid, be open and honest with your doctor about all other medicines you are taking, as well as giving them a rundown of your overall medical condition.

Clodronic acid can potentially interact with a large number of drugs and offer unwanted side effects, and they are best placed to help you avoid any unpleasant reactions. Be sure to attend all scheduled appointments and check-ups. Failure to do so will mean you don't receive the full effectiveness of the treatment, and your doctor will be unable to monitor your ongoing welfare and make the necessary adjustments to your dosages of various medications, including clodronic acid.