Your specialist team may recommend you have bisphosphonates.
Bisphosphonates are drugs that help to:
- strengthen bones
- relieve bone pain
- reduce the risk of a bone breaking (fracture)
- treat high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcaemia).
Cancer cells that have spread to the bone produce chemicals that change the way bone cells behave. The cells that destroy old bone (osteoclasts) become overactive, so more bone is broken down. This commonly causes small holes in the bone.
Bisphosphonates work by reducing the activity of the osteoclasts.
There are different types of bisphosphonates. The one you have will depend on your general health and the type of cancer you have. Commonly used bisphosphonates are:
You may have bisphosphonates as a drip (infusion) into a vein (intravenously). Usually, you will have this treatment as an outpatient. Treatment is often given every 3 to 4 weeks and usually takes 15 to 60 minutes.
Or you may take your bisphosphonates as tablets or capsules. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will explain how you should take your tablets. It is important that you take the bisphosphonates exactly as you have been directed.