December 20, 2021

What You Should Know About Reclast

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Reclast (also marketed under the generic name zoledronic acid) is a bisphosphonate medication used to prevent or treat Osteoporosis or Paget’s Disease. However, unlike other bisphosphonates, Reclast bypasses the stomach because it’s given as an infusion, going right into the bloodstream.

If you or someone you know is suffering from either Paget’s Disease or Osteoporosis, Reclast may be able to help. We put this guide including essential information you should know regarding Reclast to help you decide if it could be the right treatment for you. Always consult with your physician before starting new medicines. 

What are Osteoporosis and Paget’s Disease?

Osteoporosis 

Our bones are living tissue that are regularly being broken down and regenerated.  Osteoporosis occurs when new bone can’t keep up with the loss of old bone, causing bones to become weak and brittle. They can become so fragile that a cough or bending over could cause a fracture. These fractures often occur in the hip, wrist, or spine.

Paget’s Disease 

The human body has a recycling process in which new bone tissue slowly replaces old bone tissue. Paget’s Disease of bone interferes with this method, causing bones to become fragile and misshapen over time. 

The most commonly affected areas are:

  • Pelvis
  • Skull
  • Spine
  • Legs

Complications and Symptoms 

Osteoporosis 

As there are typically no symptoms in the early stages, Osteoporosis can at first be silent. As Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weaker over time, symptoms may include:

  • Back pain
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone that breaks/fractures easily

In particular, spine and hip fractures may cause chronic pain and disability or possibly, death. 

Paget’s Disease 

Many people with Paget’s Disease are asymptomatic or develop mild symptoms. Others may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • bone pain
  • joint pain (especially in the back, hips, and knees) 
  • headache 
  • enlargement and bowing of the thighs (femurs) and lower legs (tibias)
  • enlarged skull in the forehead area 

Risk Factors of Osteoporosis and Paget’s Disease 

Knowing the risk factors for both of these conditions is important to help take steps to prevent or treat them before they become worse.

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Major risk factors that you can’t control include:

  • Menopause/aging 
  • White or Asian descent
  • Small bone structure
  • Parents with a history of a broken hip
  • Prior fracture, particularly after age 50

Other risks factors for Osteoporosis include:

  • Low levels of sex hormones, mainly estrogen in women 
  • Eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia)
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Insufficient calcium and vitamin D, either from low intake in your diet or inadequate absorption in your gut
  • Inactive lifestyle or immobility
  • Certain medications
  • Diagnosis of diseases that can affect bones, like Cushing’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Hyperthyroidism

Paget’s Disease of Bone Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of Paget’s Disease include:

  • Over the age of 50 
  • Male
  • National origin- common in England, Scotland, central Europe, Greece, and countries settled by European immigrants. 
  • Family history of the disease 

What is Reclast, and How Does it Work? 

Reclast belongs to the class of medications known as bisphosphonates, which prevent bone loss and reduce calcium released from the bones. It’s only available through a prescription and comes in the form of an injection.

This medication treats bone loss caused by menopause, steroid use, or low hormone levels. It may also be prescribed for those who have been on corticosteroid medications, like prednisone, for a long time. 

Reclast binds to osteoclasts (bone cells), inhibiting the process of bone breakdown. As a result, Reclast decreases the rate of bone loss, promoting normal bone formation.

How Do You Use Reclast to Treat or Prevent Osteoporosis and Paget’s Disease? 

Reclast is given as an infusion by a healthcare provider and only requires administration every year when treating Osteoporosis and every two years for preventing Osteoporosis.

The dosage amount depends on each patient’s medical condition, kidney function, and response to treatment.

For patients with high blood calcium levels, IV fluids are given before Reclast is injected. Many people are also instructed to drink plenty of fluids before treatment begins to prevent kidney issues. Your infusion provider should consult with you beforehand for prep instructions. 

What are the Side Effects of Reclast?

Side effects may occur when using Reclast. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms don’t go away or get worse. 

These side effects include:

  • Bone, muscle, and joint pain
  • Flu-like illness*
  • Headache

*The flu-like symptoms generally disappear after 24-48 hours and usually occur only after the first injection

Serious side effects can also occur. If you experience any allergic reactions, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, let your healthcare professional administering the injection know right away. 

While cases are rare, some people have experienced low calcium levels in the blood (hypocalcemia), severe kidney issues, and severe bone, joint, and muscle pain. These symptoms are reported from 1 day to one month after starting any bisphosphonate, including Reclast. 

Medication Interactions with Reclast

You should always disclose to your healthcare provider all other medications you are taking before starting Reclast, especially if you are taking:

Final Thoughts

Reclast may be the best treatment for you or someone you know who suffers from Osteoporosis or Paget’s Disease.

At Speciality Infusion Centers, we specialize in helping to manage chronic conditions and work with you, your insurance carrier, and your healthcare doctor to provide a personalized treatment plan. Find the most convenient location for starting infusion therapy today. 

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