May 22, 2017
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Deterioration in Renal Function

Bisphosphonates, including Aredia, have been associated with renal toxicity manifested as deterioration of renal function and potential renal failure.

DUE TO THE RISK OF CLINICALLY SIGNIFICANT DETERIORATION IN RENAL FUNCTION, WHICH MAY PROGRESS TO RENAL FAILURE, SINGLE DOSES OF AREDIA SHOULD NOT EXCEED 90 MG (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION for appropriate infusion durations). Renal deterioration, progression to renal failure, and dialysis have been reported in patients after the initial or a single dose of Aredia.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (including the collapsing variant) with or without nephrotic syndrome, which may lead to renal failure, has been reported in Aredia-treated patients, particularly in the setting of multiple myeloma and breast cancer. Some of these patients had gradual improvement in renal status after Aredia was discontinued.

Patients who receive Aredia should have serum creatinine assessed prior to each treatment. Patients treated with Aredia for bone metastases should have the dose withheld if renal function has deteriorated. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)


Bisphosphonates, such as Aredia, are incorporated into the bone matrix, from where they are gradually released over periods of weeks to years. Aredia may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. In reproductive studies in rats and rabbits, pamidronate doses equivalent to 0.6 to 8.3 times the highest human recommended dose resulted in maternal toxicity and embryo/fetal effects. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Aredia in pregnant women. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, apprise the patient of the potential hazard to the fetus (See PRECAUTIONS, Pregnancy Category D).



Standard hypercalcemia-related metabolic parameters, such as serum levels of calcium, phosphate, magnesium, and potassium, should be carefully monitored following initiation of therapy with Aredia. Cases of asymptomatic hypophosphatemia (12%), hypokalemia (7%), hypomagnesemia (11%), and hypocalcemia (5%-12%), were reported in Aredia-treated patients. Rare cases of symptomatic hypocalcemia (including tetany) have been reported in association with Aredia therapy. If hypocalcemia occurs, short-term calcium therapy may be necessary. In Paget's disease of bone, 17% of patients treated with 90 mg of Aredia showed serum calcium levels below 8 mg/dL.

Patients with a history of thyroid surgery may have relative hypoparathyroidism that may predispose to hypocalcemia with Aredia.

Renal Insufficiency

Aredia is excreted intact primarily via the kidney, and the risk of renal adverse reactions may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Patients who receive Aredia should have serum creatinine assessed prior to each treatment. In patients receiving Aredia for bone metastases, who show evidence of deterioration in renal function, Aredia treatment should be withheld until renal function returns to baseline (see WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

In clinical trials, patients with renal impairment (serum creatinine > 3.0 mg/dL) have not been studied. Limited pharmacokinetic data exist in patients with creatinine clearance < 30 ml/min (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics.) For the treatment of bone metastases, the use of Aredia in patients with severe renal impairment is not recommended. In other indications, clinical judgment should determine whether the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk in such patients.

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) has been reported predominantly in cancer patients treated with intravenous bisphosphonates, including Aredia. Many of these patients were also receiving chemotherapy and corticosteroids which may be risk factors for ONJ. Postmarketing experience and the literature suggest a greater frequency of reports of ONJ based on tumor type (advanced breast cancer, multiple myeloma), and dental status (dental extraction, periodontal disease, local trauma including poorly fitting dentures). Many reports of ONJ involved patients with signs of local infection including osteomyelitis.

Cancer patients should maintain good oral hygiene and should have a dental examination with preventive dentistry prior to treatment with bisphosphonates.

While on treatment, these patients should avoid invasive dental procedures if possible. For patients who develop ONJ while on bisphosphonate therapy, dental surgery may exacerbate the condition. For patients requiring dental procedures, there are no data available to suggest whether discontinuation of bisphosphonate treatment reduces the risk of ONJ. Clinical judgment of the treating physician should guide the management plan of each patient based on individual benefit/risk assessment (See ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Musculoskeletal Pain

In post-marketing experience, severe and occasionally incapacitating bone, joint, and/or muscle pain has been reported in patients taking bisphosphonates.. This category of drugs includes Aredia (pamidronate disodium for injection). The time to onset of symptoms varied from one day to several months after starting the drug. Most patients had relief of symptoms after stopping. A subset had recurrence of symptoms when rechallenged with the same drug or another bisphosphonate.

Atypical fractures of the femur

Atypical subtrochanteric and diaphyseal femoral fractures have been reported in patients receiving bisphosphonate therapy, including Aredia. These fractures can occur anywhere in the femoral shaft from just below the lesser trochanter to just above the supracondylar flare and are transverse or short oblique in orientation without evidence of comminution. These fractures occur after minimal or no trauma. Patients may experience thigh or groin pain weeks to months before presenting with a completed femoral fracture. Fractures are often bilateral; therefore the contralateral femur should be examined in bisphosphonate-treated patients who have sustained a femoral shaft fracture. Poor healing of these fractures has also been reported. A number of case reports noted that patients were also receiving treatment with glucocorticoids (such as prednisone or dexamethasone) at the time of fracture. Causality with bisphosphonate therapy has not been established.

Any patient with a history of bisphosphonate exposure who presents with thigh or groin pain in the absence of trauma should be suspected of having an atypical fracture and should be evaluated. Discontinuation of Aredia therapy in patients suspected to have an atypical femur fracture should be considered pending evaluation of the patient, based on an individual benefit risk assessment. It is unknown whether the risk of atypical femur fracture continues after stopping therapy.

Laboratory Tests

Patients who receive Aredia should have serum creatinine assessed prior to each treatment. Serum calcium, electrolytes, phosphate, magnesium, and CBC, differential, and hematocrit/hemoglobin must be closely monitored in patients treated with Aredia. Patients who have preexisting anemia, leukopenia, or thrombocytopenia should be monitored carefully in the first 2 weeks following treatment. Patients receiving Aredia may be at risk for anemia, leukopenia or thrombocytopenia and should have regular hematology assessments.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

In a 104-week carcinogenicity study with daily oral administration of pamidronate in rats, there was a positive dose response relationship for benign adrenal pheochromocytoma in males (PO.00001). Although this condition was also observed in females, the incidence was not statistically significant. When the dose calculations were adjusted to account for the limited oral bioavailability of pamidronate in rats, systemic exposure with the lowest daily dose associated with adrenal pheochromocytoma resulted in systemic exposures that were similar to the systemic exposure achieved at the intended clinical dose. Adrenal pheochromocytoma was also observed in low numbers in the control animals and is considered a relatively common spontaneous neoplasm in the rat. Pamidronate given daily by oral administration was not carcinogenic in an 80-week study in mice.

Pamidronate was nonmutagenic in six mutagenicity assays, including: the Ames bacterial mutagenicity assay, (with and without metabolic activation), nucleus-anomaly test, sister-chromatid-exchange study, point-mutation test, and micronucleus test in the rat.

In rats, decreased fertility occurred in first-generation offspring of parents who had received 150 mg/kg of pamidronate orally; however, this occurred only when animals were mated with members of the same dose group. Pamidronate has not been administered intravenously in such a study.

Pregnancy Category D


There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Aredia may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Bisphosphonates, such as Aredia, are incorporated into the bone matrix, from where they are gradually released over periods of weeks to years. The extent of bisphosphonate incorporation into adult bone, and hence, the amount available for release back into the systemic circulation, is directly related to the total dose and duration of bisphosphonate use. Although there are no data on fetal risk in humans, bisphosphonates do cause fetal harm in animals, and animal data suggest that uptake of bisphosphonates into fetal bone is greater than into maternal bone. Therefore, there is a theoretical risk of fetal harm (e.g., skeletal and other abnormalities) if a woman becomes pregnant after completing a course of bisphosphonate therapy. The impact of variables such as time between cessation of bisphosphonate therapy to conception, the particular bisphosphonate used, and the route of administration (intravenous versus oral) on this risk has not been established. If Aredia is used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking or after taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Intravenous bolus dosing of pregnant rats and rabbits with pamidronate resulted in maternal toxicity and embryo/fetal effects when given during organogenesis at doses of 0.6 to 8.3 times the highest recommended human dose for a single intravenous infusion. Pamidronate can cross the placenta in rats, and has produced marked maternal and nonteratogenic embryo/fetal effects in both rats and rabbits.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether pamidronate is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Aredia, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of Aredia in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of Aredia, approximately 20% were 65 and over, while approximately 15% were 75 and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/11/2017


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