Bisphosphonates for myeloma

Bisphosphonates are drugs that can strengthen weakened bones and reduce pain. They can also reduce the amount of excess calcium in the blood (hypercalcaemia). As bisphosphonates can help delay bone damage, you may start treatment before you have any bone problems.

Research has shown that some bisphosphonates may also help treat myeloma. As part of your treatment, you may be invited to enter a clinical trial.

The bisphosphonates that are most often used in myeloma are:

Bisphosphonates may be given as a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion) once a month. They are also available as tablets. It’s very important to take the tablets exactly as you have been told.

Generally, side effects are mild. They include indigestion and feeling sick. A very rare side effect of bisphosphonates is osteonecrosis of the jaw. This leads to damage and decay of the jaw bone. You will be advised to see a dentist before starting treatment. Let your dentist know you will be taking bisphosphonates. If you need any dental treatment while having this treatment, tell your doctor.

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Zoledronic acid

Zoledronic acid is a drug that can be used when cancer has spread to the bones. It also helps to lower raised calcium levels in the blood.

Pamidronate

Pamidronate is a drug that can be used when cancer has spread to the bones. It also helps to lower raised calcium levels in the blood.

Clodronate

Clodronate is a drug that can be used when cancer has spread to the bone. It also helps to lower raised calcium levels in the blood.