Aredia (pamidronate) is an intravenous bisphosphonate drug made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and is used to treat hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood) that may occur with some types of cancer. Aredia is also used to treat bone metastasis, or the spread of cancer, and Paget’s disease, a medical condition in which the body replaces healthy bones with weak bones.
Aredia is a medicine that inhibits bone resorption and is used for treating high calcium content in blood associated with cancer, and sometimes in bone pain palliation and to control osteoporosis prompted by hormonal therapy.
Aredia was approved by the FDA in 1994 for the inhibition of bone resorption and to protect the bones and blood stream from the effects of cancer.
Aredia may cause side effects including bone, joint, or muscle pain, slight fever, loss of appetite, upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, heartburn, weakness, dizziness, headache, or increased sweating.
In September 2004, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the FDA notified dental healthcare professionals of the occurrence of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) observed in cancer patients receiving treatment with intravenous bisphosphonates, such as Aredia. The revised prescribing information that followed recommended that cancer patients receive a dental examination prior to taking Aredia, and that they avoid invasive dental procedures while on this medication.
Aredia is contraindicated in patients with clinically significant hypersensitivity to bisphosphonates, and those patients undergoing extensive dental procedures.
What is the most important information I should know about Aredia?
Do not use Aredia without first talking to your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to pamidronate or another similar medication such as alendronate (Fosamax), etidronate (Didronel), risedronate (Actonel), tiludronate (Skelid), or zoledronic acid (Zometa).
A dental examination with appropriate preventive dentistry should be considered before starting treatment with Aredia. This is especially important if you:
- Have poor dental health
- Have cancer
- Are receiving chemotherapy
- Are taking corticosteroids.
How do cancer cells affect bones?
It is possible in some patients for cancer cells to spread from its original site, i.e. the breast(s) to the bones. The cancer cells then grow into small tumors which release chemicals that upset the normal balance between bone formation (osteoblast cells) and bone reabsorption (osteoclast cells).
These chemicals stimulate osteoclasts to excessively reabsorb bone, release calcium into the blood stream, and reduce bone density, leading to holes in the bones and weakness. Weak bones lead to bone pain and fracture.
What is Osteonecrosis of the Jaw?
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ), also known as ‘dead jaw is a medical condition in which the jawbone partially disintegrates and dies. ONJ may cause severe pain, loose teeth, exposed bone, loss of function, and disfigurement.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Aredia?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Aredia, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Aredia lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.