Two studies compared Zometa with pamidronate (Aredia®), another bisphosphonate, for the treatment of high blood calcium due to cancer. Ten days after the injection, 88 percent of people who took Zometa had normal calcium levels, compared to 70 percent of those who took Aredia.
Zometa has also been studied for preventing broken bones and other bone problems in people with cancer that affects the bone. These studies measured the occurrence of indicators of bone problems, such as broken bones, bone surgery, bone radiation therapy, and spinal cord compression (pressure on the spinal cord caused by spinal fractures or other problems). People who took Zometa had fewer of these problems, compared to those who did not take it. Zometa also delayed the development of these bone problems.
General considerations for when and how to take it include the following:
- The medication comes in injection form. It is given by IV by your healthcare provider, usually at a hospital or cancer clinic or center. The Zometa IV should be given over a period of at least 15 minutes (giving it too quickly increases the risk of kidney problems).
- For high blood calcium, it is given as a single dose (although in some situations, re-treatment may be necessary).
- For preventing bone problems due to multiple myeloma or solid tumors, it is given once every three to four weeks.
- It is important that you get enough calcium and vitamin D while taking this medication.
- You can take Zometa on an empty or full stomach.
- It is very important that you are well hydrated before receiving your Zometa dose in order to protect your kidneys. Make sure to drink enough fluids in the days before your dose. In many cases, your healthcare provider may need to give you IV fluids to make sure you are hydrated enough.