Drop in calcium levels below normal
This is extremely rare and usually only temporary. It is unlikely to cause you any symptoms.
Effect on the kidneys
Zoledronic acid can sometimes affect how your kidneys work. This doesn't usually cause any symptoms, and the effects are generally mild. Your doctor will check how well your kidneys are working during your treatment by doing blood tests.
Red or sore eyes
Your doctor can prescribe eye drops to ease this.
Anaemia (low number of red blood cells)
Symptoms of anaemia include feeling very tired and breathless. Your doctor can check whether you're anaemic by doing a blood test.
This is not common, but it's important to let your doctor know if you are getting headaches. They will advise you about what medicines to take. It's also important to drink plenty of fluids.
Feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting)
If this happens, your doctor can prescribe very effective anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs to prevent or greatly reduce the sickness.
Jaw problems (osteonecrosis)
A rare side effect of zoledronic acid is a condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw. This is when healthy bone tissue in the jaw becomes damaged and dies.
Gum disease, problems with your dentures and some dental treatments, such as having a tooth removed, can increase the risk of this. So before you start taking the drug you'll be advised to have a full dental check-up.
During treatment with bisphosphonates it's very important to look after your teeth by brushing them regularly and having routine dental check-ups. Always let your dentist know that you're taking bisphosphonates.
Some of the symptoms of osteonecrosis can include pain, swelling, redness of the gums, loose teeth or a feeling of numbness or heaviness in your jaw. Tell your cancer specialist and dentist straight away if you have any of these symptoms.