Zoledronic Acid (Page 4 of 7)

8.3 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether zoledronic acid is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from zoledronic acid, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Zoledronic acid binds to bone long term and may be released over weeks to years.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Zoledronic acid is not indicated for use in children.

The safety and effectiveness of zoledronic acid was studied in a one-year active-controlled trial of 152 pediatric subjects (74 receiving zoledronic acid). The enrolled population was subjects with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, aged 1 to 17 years, 55% male, 84% Caucasian, with a mean lumbar spine BMD of 0.431 gm/cm2 , which is 2.7 standard deviations below the mean for age-matched controls (BMD Z-score of -2.7). At one year, increases in BMD were observed in the zoledronic acid treatment group. However, changes in BMD in individual patients with severe osteogenesis imperfecta did not necessarily correlate with the risk for fracture or the incidence or severity of chronic bone pain. The adverse events observed with zoledronic acid use in children did not raise any new safety findings beyond those previously seen in adults treated for hypercalcemia of malignancy or bone metastases. However, adverse reactions seen more commonly in pediatric patients included pyrexia (61%), arthralgia (26%), hypocalcemia (22%) and headache (22%). These reactions, excluding arthralgia, occurred most frequently within 3 days after the first infusion and became less common with repeat dosing. Because of long-term retention in bone, zoledronic acid should only be used in children if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Plasma zoledronic acid concentration data was obtained from 10 patients with severe osteogenesis imperfecta (4 in the age group of 3 to 8 years and 6 in the age group of 9 to 17 years) infused with 0.05 mg/kg dose over 30 min. Mean Cmax and AUC(0-last) was 167 ng/‌mL and 220 ng•h/mL, respectively. The plasma concentration time profile of zoledronic acid in pediatric patients represent a multi‑exponential decline, as observed in adult cancer patients at an approximately equivalent mg/kg dose.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of zoledronic acid in hypercalcemia of malignancy included 34 patients who were 65 years of age or older. No significant differences in response rate or adverse reactions were seen in geriatric patients receiving zoledronic acid as compared to younger patients. Controlled clinical studies of zoledronic acid in the treatment of multiple myeloma and bone metastases of solid tumors in patients over age 65 revealed similar efficacy and safety in older and younger patients. Because decreased renal function occurs more commonly in the elderly, special care should be taken to monitor renal function.


Clinical experience with acute overdosage of zoledronic acid is limited. Two patients received zoledronic acid 32 mg over 5 minutes in clinical trials. Neither patient experienced any clinical or laboratory toxicity. Overdosage may cause clinically significant hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, and hypomagnesemia. Clinically relevant reductions in serum levels of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium should be corrected by intravenous administration of calcium gluconate, potassium or sodium phosphate, and magnesium sulfate, respectively.

In an open-label study of zoledronic acid 4 mg in breast cancer patients, a female patient received a single 48-mg dose of zoledronic acid in error. Two days after the overdose, the patient experienced a single episode of hyperthermia (38°C), which resolved after treatment. All other evaluations were normal, and the patient was discharged seven days after the overdose.

A patient with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma received zoledronic acid 4 mg daily on four successive days for a total dose of 16 mg. The patient developed paresthesia and abnormal liver function tests with increased GGT (nearly 100 U/L, each value unknown). The outcome of this case is not known.

In controlled clinical trials, administration of zoledronic acid 4 mg as an intravenous infusion over 5 minutes has been shown to increase the risk of renal toxicity compared to the same dose administered as a 15-minute intravenous infusion. In controlled clinical trials, zoledronic acid 8 mg has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of renal toxicity compared to zoledronic acid 4 mg, even when given as a 15-minute intravenous infusion, and was not associated with added benefit in patients with hypercalcemia of malignancy [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].


Zoledronic acid injection contains zoledronic acid, a bisphosphonic acid which is an inhibitor of osteoclastic bone resorption. Zoledronic acid is designated chemically as (1-Hydroxy-2-imidazol-1-yl-phosphonoethyl) phosphonic acid monohydrate and its structural formula is:

Chemical structure

Zoledronic acid is a white crystalline powder. Its molecular formula is C5 H10 N2 O7 P2 • H2 O and its molar mass is 290.1 g/‌Mol. Zoledronic acid is highly soluble in 0.1N sodium hydroxide solution, sparingly soluble in water and 0.1N hydrochloric acid, and practically insoluble in organic solvents. The pH of a 0.7% solution of zoledronic acid in water is approximately 2.

Zoledronic acid is available in 5 mL vials as a sterile liquid concentrate solution for intravenous infusion.

Each 5 mL vial of concentrate contains 4.264 mg zoledronic acid monohydrate, equivalent to 4 mg zoledronic acid on an anhydrous basis, 220 mg of Mannitol, USP, Water for Injection, USP, and 24 mg of Sodium Citrate, USP.

Inactive Ingredients: Mannitol, USP, as bulking agent, Water for Injection and Sodium Citrate, USP, as buffering agent.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The principal pharmacologic action of zoledronic acid is inhibition of bone resorption. Although the antiresorptive mechanism is not completely understood, several factors are thought to contribute to this action. In vitro , zoledronic acid inhibits osteoclastic activity and induces osteoclast apoptosis. Zoledronic acid also blocks the osteoclastic resorption of mineralized bone and cartilage through its binding to bone. Zoledronic acid inhibits the increased osteoclastic activity and skeletal calcium release induced by various stimulatory factors released by tumors.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Clinical studies in patients with hypercalcemia of malignancy (HCM) showed that single-dose infusions of zoledronic acid are associated with decreases in serum calcium and phosphorus and increases in urinary calcium and phosphorus excretion.

Osteoclastic hyperactivity resulting in excessive bone resorption is the underlying pathophysiologic derangement in hypercalcemia of malignancy (HCM, tumor-induced hypercalcemia) and metastatic bone disease. Excessive release of calcium into the blood as bone is resorbed results in polyuria and gastrointestinal disturbances, with progressive dehydration and decreasing glomerular filtration rate. This, in turn, results in increased renal resorption of calcium, setting up a cycle of worsening systemic hypercalcemia. Reducing excessive bone resorption and maintaining adequate fluid administration are, therefore, essential to the management of hypercalcemia of malignancy.

Patients who have hypercalcemia of malignancy can generally be divided into two groups according to the pathophysiologic mechanism involved: humoral hypercalcemia and hypercalcemia due to tumor invasion of bone. In humoral hypercalcemia, osteoclasts are activated and bone resorption is stimulated by factors such as parathyroid hormone-related protein, which are elaborated by the tumor and circulate systemically. Humoral hypercalcemia usually occurs in squamous cell malignancies of the lung or head and neck or in genitourinary tumors such as renal cell carcinoma or ovarian cancer. Skeletal metastases may be absent or minimal in these patients.

Extensive invasion of bone by tumor cells can also result in hypercalcemia due to local tumor products that stimulate bone resorption by osteoclasts. Tumors commonly associated with locally mediated hypercalcemia include breast cancer and multiple myeloma.

Total serum calcium levels in patients who have hypercalcemia of malignancy may not reflect the severity of hypercalcemia, since concomitant hypoalbuminemia is commonly present. Ideally, ionized calcium levels should be used to diagnose and follow hypercalcemic conditions; however, these are not commonly or rapidly available in many clinical situations. Therefore, adjustment of the total serum calcium value for differences in albumin levels (corrected serum calcium, CSC) is often used in place of measurement of ionized calcium; several nomograms are in use for this type of calculation [see Dosage And Administration (2)].

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