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Didronel

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/13/2015

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Didronel Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Didronel

Generic Name: etidronate (Pronunciation: e ti DROE nate)

What is etidronate (Didronel)?

Etidronate is in a group of medicines called bisphosphonates (bis FOS fo nayts). It alters the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in the body.

Etidronate is used to treat Paget's disease, and to treat conditions of irregular bone growth due to hip fracture or spinal cord injury.

Etidronate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of etidronate (Didronel)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using etidronate and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • painful or difficult swallowing;
  • severe heartburn, burning pain in your upper stomach, or coughing up blood;
  • severe joint, bone, or muscle pain;
  • jaw pain, numbness, or swelling;
  • severe diarrhea;
  • bone fracture; or
  • a red, blistering, peeling skin rash.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild diarrhea;
  • headache, confusion;
  • muscle cramps, joint pain; or
  • numbness or tingly feeling.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about etidronate (Didronel)?

Take etidronate with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of water. Use only plain water (not mineral water) when taking an etidronate tablet.

For at least the first 2 hours after taking etidronate, do not eat or drink anything other than plain water, and do not take any other medicines including vitamins or mineral supplements.

Especially avoid drinking milk or eating dairy products within 2 hours after taking etidronate. Also avoid taking supplements that contain calcium, magnesium, iron, or aluminum (such as in multivitamins with iron, and in many types of antacids).

Some people using medicines similar to etidronate have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums. You may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre existing dental problem.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are using etidronate. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

Didronel Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking etidronate (Didronel)?

Do not take etidronate if you have a condition called osteomalacia (softening of the bones), or a problem with the movement of muscles in your esophagus.

To make sure you can safely take etidronate, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • diarrhea;
  • a bone fracture;
  • trouble swallowing;
  • a stomach or esophageal ulcer or disease; or
  • kidney disease.

Some people using medicines similar to etidronate have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms of this condition may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums.

You may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and dental surgery or pre-existing dental problems.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether etidronate will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication..

It is not known whether etidronate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take etidronate (Didronel)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Do not crush, chew, or suck the pill. Swallow it whole.

Take each etidronate tablet with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of water. Use only plain water (not mineral water) when taking an etidronate tablet.

For at least the first 2 hours after taking etidronate, do not eat or drink anything other than plain water, and do not take any other medicines including vitamins or mineral supplements.

It is important to take etidronate regularly to get the most benefit.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are using etidronate. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

After you stop taking etidronate, you must stay off the medication for at least 90 days before starting etidronate therapy again.

Your doctor will need to check your progress on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Etidronate is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Didronel Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Didronel)?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose (Didronel)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include vomiting, numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes.

What should I avoid while taking etidronate (Didronel)?

Avoid drinking milk or eating dairy products within 2 hours after taking etidronate. Also avoid taking supplements that contain calcium, magnesium, iron, or aluminum (such as in multivitamins with iron, and in many types of antacids).

What other drugs will affect etidronate (Didronel)?

Before taking etidronate, tell your doctor if you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with etidronate. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over the counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about etidronate.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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