What is Pamidronate?
Pamidronate belongs to a group of medications known as Biphosphonates. It is used to treat conditions such as Paget’s disease and some cancers but it can also be used to treat pain conditions such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Pamidronate alters the cycle of bone formation and breakdown in the body and helps to reduce bone pain.
How is Pamidronate Administered?
Pamidronate infusions are delivered intravenously (IV) in a hospital based setting. The patient is admitted to the hospital as a day stay patient.
A plastic cannula is inserted into a vein in the arm and the Pamidronate is administered intravenously over a period of four hours via a computer operated infusion pump.
The infusion is usually repeated one month later.
What Are the Side Effects?
Most commonly, people report flu- like symptoms and mild fever. This may occur when the Pamidronate is commenced and may last for approximately 48 hours.
Some people also report an increase in bone pain soon after commencing the Pamidronate.
Other side effects that may occur include pain and redness at the injection site, feeling nauseated, eye irritation, headache, tender or painful veins, or a rash affecting the hands, face, lips or throat. These side effects should reported to the nursing staff in hospital.
A rare side effect to Pamidronate is osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is a breakdown of the jaw bone. This is a very serious side effect and it is important that you advise your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Pain, numbness or heaviness of the jaw
- Loosening of the teeth
- Poor healing of the gums
- Pain, swelling or infection of the gums.
It is best to avoid non-emergency dental procedures for six weeks after the Pamidronate infusion as dental surgery is thought to increase the rare risk of osteonecrosis happening.
It is recommended that you take calcium supplements for one month after each Pamidronate infusion as the infusion can occasionally lower the body’s calcium level in the bloodstream.
It is important that you advise your doctor of any other medications that you are taking prior to undergoing a Pamidronate infusion.
If you require further explanation of the procedure, please contact the nurses at Hunter Pain Clinic on (02) 4985 1800.
* Image courtesy of keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net