Jump to content

Zoledronic acid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zoledronic acid
Clinical data
Trade namesReclast, Zometa, others[1]
Other nameszoledronate
License data
Routes of
Drug classBisphosphonate[3]
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding22%
Elimination half-life146 hours
ExcretionKidney (partial)
  • [1-hydroxy-2-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)ethane-1,1-diyl]bis(phosphonic acid)
CAS Number
PubChem CID
PDB ligand
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass272.090 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • O=P(O)(O)C(O)(Cn1ccnc1)P(=O)(O)O
  • InChI=1S/C5H10N2O7P2/c8-5(15(9,10)11,16(12,13)14)3-7-2-1-6-4-7/h1-2,4,8H,3H2,(H2,9,10,11)(H2,12,13,14)
 ☒NcheckY (what is this?)  (verify)

Zoledronic acid, also known as zoledronate and sold under the brand name Zometa among others,[5] by Novartis among others, is a medication used to treat a number of bone diseases.[3] These include osteoporosis, high blood calcium due to cancer, bone breakdown due to cancer, Paget's disease of bone[3] and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). It is given by injection into a vein.[3]

Common side effects include fever, joint pain, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and feeling tired.[3] Serious side effects may include kidney problems, low blood calcium, and osteonecrosis of the jaw.[3] Use during pregnancy may result in harm to the baby.[3] It is in the bisphosphonate family of medications.[3] It works by blocking the activity of osteoclast cells and thus decreases the breakdown of bone.[3]

Zoledronic acid was patented in 1986 and approved for medical use in the United States in 2001.[3][6] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.[7]

Medical uses[edit]

Bone complications of cancer[edit]

Zoledronic acid is used to prevent bone fractures in patients with cancers such as multiple myeloma and prostate cancer, as well as for treating osteoporosis.[8] It can also be used to treat hypercalcaemia of malignancy and can be helpful for treating pain from bone metastases.[9]

It can be given at home rather than in hospital. Such use has shown safety and quality-of-life benefits in people with breast cancer and bone metastases.[10]


Zoledronic acid, in brand name products Aclasta and Reclast among others,[11] may be given as a 5 mg infusion once per year for treatment of osteoporosis in men and post-menopausal women at increased risk of fracture.[12]

In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved it for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.[5][13]


Zoledronic acid may be used for treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta.[14]

A single 5 mg dose of zoledronic acid is used for the treatment of Paget's disease.[medical citation needed][15]


Side effects[edit]

Side effects can include fatigue, anemia, muscle aches, fever, and/or swelling in the feet or legs. Flu-like symptoms are common after the first infusion, although not subsequent infusions, and are thought to occur because of its potential to activate human gamma delta T cell (γδ T cells).


There is a risk of severe renal impairment. Appropriate hydration is important before administration, as is adequate calcium and vitamin D intake before Aclasta therapy in patients with hypocalcaemia, and for ten days following Aclasta in patients with Paget's disease of the bone. Monitoring for other mineral metabolism disorders and the avoidance of invasive dental procedures for those who develop osteonecrosis of the jaw is recommended.[17]

Zoledronate is rapidly processed via the kidneys; consequently its administration is not recommended for patients with reduced renal function or kidney disease.[18] Some cases of acute kidney injury either requiring dialysis or having a fatal outcome following Reclast use have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[19] This assessment was confirmed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), whose Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) specified new contraindications for the medication on 15 December 2011, which include hypocalcaemia and severe renal impairment with a creatinine clearance of less than 35 ml/min.[20]


Osteonecrosis of the jaw[edit]

A rare complication that has been recently observed in cancer patients being treated with bisphosphonates is osteonecrosis of the jaw. This has mainly been seen in patients with multiple myeloma treated with zoledronic acid who have had dental extractions.[21]

Atypical fractures[edit]

After approving the drug in July 2009, the European Medicines Agency conducted a class review of all bisphosphonates, including zoledronic acid, after several cases of atypical fractures were reported.[22] In 2008, the EMA's Pharmacovigilance Working Party (PhVWP) noted that alendronic acid was associated with an increased risk of atypical fracture of the femur that developed with low or no trauma. In April 2010, the PhVWP noted that further data from both the published literature and post-marketing reports were now available which suggested that atypical stress fractures of the femur may be a class effect. The European Medicines Agency then reviewed all case reports of stress fractures in patients treated with bisphosphonates, relevant data from the published literature, and data provided by the companies which market bisphosphonates. The Agency recommended that doctors who prescribe bisphosphonate-containing medicines should be aware that atypical fractures may occur rarely in the femur, especially after long-term use, and that doctors who are prescribing these medicines for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis should regularly review the need for continued treatment, especially after five or more years of use.[22]


As a nitrogenous bisphosphonate, zoledronic acid is a potent inhibitor of bone resorption, allowing the bone-forming cells time to rebuild normal bone and allowing bone remodeling.[23] [24]

Relative potency[25]
Bisphosphonate Relative potency
Etidronate 1
Tiludronate 10
Pamidronate 100
Alendronate 100-500
Ibandronate 500-1000
Risedronate 1000
Zoledronate 5000


Zoledronic acid has been found to have a direct antitumor effect and to synergistically augment the effects of other antitumor agents in osteosarcoma cells.[26]

Zoledronic acid has shown significant benefits versus placebo over three years, with a reduced number of vertebral fractures and improved markers of bone density.[27][13] An annual dose of zoledronic acid may also prevent recurring fractures in patients with a previous hip fracture.[12]

With hormone therapy for breast cancer[edit]

An increase in disease-free survival (DFS) was found in the ABCSG-12 trial, in which 1,803 premenopausal women with endocrine-responsive early breast cancer received anastrozole with zoledronic acid.[28] A retrospective analysis of the AZURE trial data revealed a DFS survival advantage, particularly where estrogen had been reduced.[29]

In a meta-analysis of trials where upfront zoledronic acid was given to prevent aromatase inhibitor-associated bone loss, active cancer recurrence appeared to be reduced.[30]

As of 2010 "The results of clinical studies of adjuvant treatment on early-stage hormone-receptor-positive breast-cancer patients under hormonal treatment – especially with the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid – caused excitement because they demonstrated an additive effect on decreasing disease relapses at bone or other sites. A number of clinical and in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies, which are either ongoing or have just ended, are investigating the mechanism of action and antitumoral activity of bisphosphonates."[31]

A 2010 review concluded that "adding zoledronic acid 4 mg intravenously every 6 months to endocrine therapy in premenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer ... is cost-effective from a US health care system perspective".[32]


  1. ^ "International trade names for zoledronic acid". Drugs.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Zoledronic acid Use During Pregnancy". Drugs.com. 1 June 2020. Archived from the original on 16 November 2021. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Zoledronic Acid". The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Zometa EPAR". European Medicines Agency. 20 March 2001. Archived from the original on 7 June 2023. Retrieved 5 July 2024.
  5. ^ a b "Novartis's Reclast Receives FDA Approval for Women With Postmenopausal Osteoporosis". FierceBiotech (Press release). 20 August 2007. Archived from the original on 28 March 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  6. ^ Fischer J, Ganellin CR (2006). Analogue-based Drug Discovery. John Wiley & Sons. p. 524. ISBN 9783527607495. Archived from the original on 14 January 2023. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  7. ^ World Health Organization (2023). The selection and use of essential medicines 2023: web annex A: World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 23rd list (2023). Geneva: World Health Organization. hdl:10665/371090. WHO/MHP/HPS/EML/2023.02.
  8. ^ National Prescribing Service (2009). "Zoledronic Acid for Osteoporosis". Medicines Update, Available at "Zoledronic acid (Aclasta) for osteoporosis: National Prescribing Service Ltd NPS". Archived from the original on 23 April 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Zomera prescribing information" (PDF). Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. April 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 June 2022. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  10. ^ Wardley A, Davidson N, Barrett-Lee P, Hong A, Mansi J, Dodwell D, et al. (May 2005). "Zoledronic acid significantly improves pain scores and quality of life in breast cancer patients with bone metastases: a randomised, crossover study of community vs hospital bisphosphonate administration". British Journal of Cancer. 92 (10): 1869–1876. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602551. PMC 2361764. PMID 15870721.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  11. ^ Dhillon S (November 2016). "Zoledronic Acid (Reclast®, Aclasta®): A Review in Osteoporosis". Drugs. 76 (17): 1683–1697. doi:10.1007/s40265-016-0662-4. PMID 27864686. S2CID 22079489.
  12. ^ a b Lyles KW, Colón-Emeric CS, Magaziner JS, Adachi JD, Pieper CF, Mautalen C, et al. (November 2007). "Zoledronic acid and clinical fractures and mortality after hip fracture". The New England Journal of Medicine. 357 (18): 1799–1809. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa074941. PMC 2324066. PMID 17878149.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  13. ^ a b Black DM, Delmas PD, Eastell R, Reid IR, Boonen S, Cauley JA, et al. (May 2007). "Once-yearly zoledronic acid for treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis". The New England Journal of Medicine. 356 (18): 1809–1822. doi:10.1056/nejmoa067312. PMID 17476007. S2CID 71443125.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  14. ^ Dwan K, Phillipi CA, Steiner RD, Basel D (October 2016). "Bisphosphonate therapy for osteogenesis imperfecta". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016 (10): CD005088. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005088.pub4. PMC 6611487. PMID 27760454.
  15. ^ "Paget's Disease of Bone". www.rheumatology.org. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  16. ^ Vondracek SF (April 2010). "Managing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women". American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 67 (7 Suppl 3): S9-19. doi:10.2146/ajhp100076. PMID 20332498.
  17. ^ "NPS MedicineWise" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Zometa 4mg/5ml Concentrate for Solution for Infusion". medicines.org.uk. Archived from the original on 24 February 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  19. ^ "FDA Alert: Reclast (zoledronic acid): Drug Safety Communication - New Contraindication and Updated Warning on Kidney Impairment". drugs.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  20. ^ "European Medicines Agency - Human medicines". europa.eu. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  21. ^ Durie BG, Katz M, Crowley J (July 2005). "Osteonecrosis of the jaw and bisphosphonates" (PDF). The New England Journal of Medicine. 353 (1): 99–102, discussion 99–102. doi:10.1056/NEJM200507073530120. PMID 16000365. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 August 2023. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  22. ^ a b "European Medicines Agency - Human medicines". europa.eu. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  23. ^ "Aclasta label- Australia" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Bisphosphonates". International Osteoporosis Foundation. Retrieved 30 July 2022.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Tripathi KD (30 September 2013). Essentials of medical pharmacology (Seventh ed.). New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, Ltd. ISBN 9789350259375. OCLC 868299888.
  26. ^ Koto K, Murata H, Kimura S, Horie N, Matsui T, Nishigaki Y, et al. (July 2010). "Zoledronic acid inhibits proliferation of human fibrosarcoma cells with induction of apoptosis, and shows combined effects with other anticancer agents". Oncology Reports. 24 (1): 233–239. doi:10.3892/or_00000851. PMID 20514467.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  27. ^ Reid IR, Brown JP, Burckhardt P, Horowitz Z, Richardson P, Trechsel U, et al. (February 2002). "Intravenous zoledronic acid in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density". The New England Journal of Medicine. 346 (9): 653–661. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa011807. PMID 11870242.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  28. ^ Gnant M, Mlineritsch B, Schippinger W, Luschin-Ebengreuth G, Pöstlberger S, Menzel C, et al. (February 2009). "Endocrine therapy plus zoledronic acid in premenopausal breast cancer". The New England Journal of Medicine. 360 (7): 679–691. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0806285. PMID 19213681.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  29. ^ Coleman RE, Winter MC, Cameron D, Bell R, Dodwell D, Keane MM, et al. (March 2010). "The effects of adding zoledronic acid to neoadjuvant chemotherapy on tumour response: exploratory evidence for direct anti-tumour activity in breast cancer". British Journal of Cancer. 102 (7): 1099–1105. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605604. PMC 2853093. PMID 20234364.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  30. ^ Brufsky A, Bundred N, Coleman R, Lambert-Falls R, Mena R, Hadji P, et al. (May 2008). "Integrated analysis of zoledronic acid for prevention of aromatase inhibitor-associated bone loss in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer receiving adjuvant letrozole". The Oncologist. 13 (5): 503–514. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2007-0206. PMID 18515735. S2CID 23710758.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: overridden setting (link)
  31. ^ Tonyali O, Arslan C, Altundag K (November 2010). "The role of zoledronic acid in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer: current perspectives". Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 11 (16): 2715–2725. doi:10.1517/14656566.2010.523699. PMID 20977404. S2CID 26073229.
  32. ^ Delea TE, Taneja C, Sofrygin O, Kaura S, Gnant M (August 2010). "Cost-effectiveness of zoledronic acid plus endocrine therapy in premenopausal women with hormone-responsive early breast cancer". Clinical Breast Cancer. 10 (4): 267–274. doi:10.3816/CBC.2010.n.034. PMID 20705558.