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Bisphosphonates: resources

Bisphosphonates and Breast cancer Treatment          

       There are two drugs available in this group namely pamidronate (Aredia) and zoledronic acid (Zometa). These drugs are not given as a primary treatment of breast cancer, however they are effective in preventing the bone related complications that may occur from breast cancer. When used in patients in whom the breast cancer had spread to the bone they strengthen the bone and decrease the incidence of fractures. They are also capable of decreasing the pain associated with bone metastasis and may decrease the need for palliative radiation therapy to the bone. These drugs are given intravenously and both drugs are equally effective, however pamidronate needs a longer infusion time compared to zoledronic acid.

     These drugs are relatively free of side effects, but may cause bone pain, fever, and conjunctivitis among other minor side effects.

  These drugs are also known to cause impairment of the kidney function. Your doctor will monitor the kidney function while you are on these drugs and will stop the drug if it is affecting kidney function. Your doctor may also monitor levels of calcium and phosphate while you are on Bisphosphonate therapy. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recommends that once this drug is started on patient with bone metastasis, it be to be continued for the lifetime of the patient. Recent studies have suggested that these drugs may decrease the progression of bone disease as well and clinical trials are ongoing to confirm this effect. There are also some studies ongoing to see if these drugs can prevent bone metastasis. A recent randomized study from Japan has shown that Zometa is very effective in reducing the skelital related complications in breast cancer patients with bone metastasis.  

Bisphosphonates and Breast cancer Treatment

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