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Another Look At Aredia & Zometa Use For Multiple Myeloma Patients

Posted on January 11 2010 by Pat Killingsworth | 21,380 views

I have been getting e-mails aking about bisphosphonates lately.  Recommended frequency and duration come up most often.  I’m not a doctor.  But the trend has been to stop using Aredia or Zometa sooner rather than later.  How about dosing every three weeks rather than monthly?  If you doctor thinks it is a good idea, why not?  Just not for an indefinite amount of time.  Here is an article I wrote on the subject after discussing Aredia with the International Myeloma Foundation’s (IMF) Medical Director Dr. Brian Durie last September:

During our interview at the end of July, Dr. Brian Durie stressed the benefits of using Aredia (his bisphosphonate of choice) or Zometa to treat multiple myeloma. These drugs not only help strenghten and repair damaged bones, they can also reduce the size and number of lesions and help reduce the number of myeloma cells in the bone marrow as well, especially when used in combination with Velcade, Revlimid or Thalidomide.

How long should you use bisphosphonates? Monthly for the first two years after diagnosis if active bone disease is present. After that, every three months in patients with severe bone damage. Start using the drugs again if and when new disease is detected.

There has been much written about the risk of side effects, such as osteonecrosis of the jaw, while using these drugs. I won’t belabor that here. But there is a higher risk of developing osteonecrosis while using Zometa. Longer and slower IV administration of the drug can reduce those risks. Both drugs also increase the risk of renal toxicitiy. But all myeloma specialists present agreed the rewards far out way the risks, especially if use is reduced or stopped after two years. The new drug, Denusomab, apparently is more effective and will have fewer side effects. It should be available for general use within two years.

Feel good, keep smiling and take your vitamin D and calcium daily! Pat

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Cindy Says:

    Pat,

    Zometa Cares is a wonderful free service provided by Norvartis the makers of Zometa.

    Here is the descriptionof the service:

    ZometaCares is support when you need it, on your terms

    Novartis is committed to providing the very best in patient care. That's why we're bringing you ZometaCares. ZometaCares is a complimentary program that gives you access to an experienced oncology nurse who will be there for you throughout your treatment. Your ZometaCares nurse will be just a phone call away to answer your questions and lend a listening ear.

    With your ZometaCares nurse, you don't need to wait for answers to your questions, and you never need to feel alone. Your ZometaCares nurse will work with your medical team to make sure all of your questions are answered and you have all the information and support you need. You can enroll right now by calling 1-888-3-ZOMETA (1-888-396-6382), 9:30am-10:00pm Monday-Friday EST/EDT.

    Here's how ZometaCares works

    After you enroll in ZometaCares:

    A ZometaCares oncology nurse will be assigned to you. Your ZometaCares nurse will contact your doctor to find out the details of your treatment plan.
    You'll get a call from your nurse, who will be your regular contact, at the number and time of day you request.
    Your nurse will continue to contact you at pre-arranged times to help answer your questions and help make sure your treatment is going smoothly.
    You'll receive a call from your ZometaCares nurse the day before each treatment to remind you of your appointment and the day after each treatment to check on how you're feeling.
    You can call your ZometaCares nurse any time you have a question or just need to talk.
    Your ZometaCares nurse will stay in touch with you and with your doctor's office throughout the course of your treatment with Zometa.
    Take advantage of additional support. Enroll in ZometaCares today

    Going through treatment can be a challenge. Get the additional support you need. Talk with your doctor or oncology nurse and call 1-888-3-ZOMETA (1-888-396-6382), Monday-Friday, 9:30am-10:00pm EST/EDT to learn more about ZometaCares.

    Today, there's more that can be done to help delay or reduce bone complications than ever before. Take advantage of all that's available to you. Enroll in ZometaCares today.

    Sincerely,
    The ZOMETA Team

    Warm Regards, Cindy Chmielewski

  2. Pat Killingsworth Says:

    Thank you, Cindy. E-mail me if you would so I can do a follow-up article and ask you a few questions- Pat

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