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Aredia (Pamidronate Disodium) - Drug Interactions, Contraindications, Overdosage, etc




Serum phosphate levels have been noted to decrease after administration of Aredia, presumably because of decreased release of phosphate from bone and increased renal excretion as parathyroid hormone levels, which are usually suppressed in hypercalcemia associated with malignancy, return toward normal. Phosphate therapy was administered in 30% of the patients in response to a decrease in serum phosphate levels. Phosphate levels usually returned toward normal within 7-10 days.

      Urinary calcium/creatinine and urinary hydroxyproline/creatinine ratios decrease and usually return to within or below normal after treatment with Aredia. These changes occur within the first week after treatment, as do decreases in serum calcium levels, and are consistent with an antiresorptive pharmacologic action.

Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

Osteoclastic hyperactivity resulting in excessive bone resorption is the underlying pathophysiologic derangement in metastatic bone disease and hypercalcemia of malignancy. 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. Correction of excessive bone resorption and adequate fluid administration to correct volume deficits are therefore essential to the management of hypercalcemia.

      Most cases of hypercalcemia associated with malignancy occur in patients who have breast cancer; squamous-cell tumors of the lung or head and neck; renal-cell carcinoma; and certain hematologic malignancies, such as multiple myeloma and some types of lymphomas. A few less-common malignancies, including vasoactive intestinal-peptide-producing tumors and cholangiocarcinoma, have a high incidence of hypercalcemia as a metabolic complication. Patients who have hypercalcemia of malignancy can generally be divided into two groups, according to the pathophysiologic mechanism involved.

      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 is often used in place of measurement of ionized calcium; several nomograms are in use for this type of calculation (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Clinical Trials

In one double-blind clinical trial, 52 patients who had hypercalcemia of malignancy were enrolled to receive 30 mg, 60 mg, or 90 mg of Aredia as a single 24-hour intravenous infusion if their corrected serum calcium levels were ≥12.0 mg/dL after 48 hours of saline hydration.

      The mean baseline-corrected serum calcium for the 30-mg, 60-mg, and 90-mg groups were 13.8 mg/dL,13.8 mg/dL, and 13.3 mg/dL, respectively.

      The majority of patients (64%) had decreases in albumin-corrected serum calcium levels by 24 hours after initiation of treatment. Mean-corrected serum calcium levels at days 2-7 after initiation of treatment with Aredia were significantly reduced from baseline in all three dosage groups. As a result, by 7 days after initiation of treatment with Aredia, 40%, 61%, and 100% of the patients receiving 30 mg, 60 mg, and 90 mg of Aredia, respectively, had normal-corrected serum calcium levels. Many patients (33%-53%) in the 60-mg and 90-mg dosage groups continued to have normal-corrected serum calcium levels, or a partial response (≥15% decrease of corrected serum calcium from baseline), at Day 14.

      In a second double-blind, controlled clinical trial, 65 cancer patients who had corrected serum calcium levels of ≥12.0 mg/dL after at least 24 hours of saline hydration were randomized to receive either 60 mg of Aredia as a single 24-hour intravenous infusion or 7.5 mg/kg of etidronate disodium as a 2-hour intravenous infusion daily for 3 days. Thirty patients were randomized to receive Aredia and 35 to receive etidronate disodium.

      The mean baseline-corrected serum calcium for the Aredia 60-mg and etidronate disodium groups were 14.6 mg/dL and 13.8 mg/dL, respectively.

      By Day 7, 70% of the patients in the Aredia group and 41% of the patients in the etidronate disodium group had normal-corrected serum calcium levels (P<0.05). When partial responders (≥15% decrease of serum calcium from baseline) were also included, the response rates were 97% for the Aredia group and 65% for the etidronate disodium group (P<0.01). Mean-corrected serum calcium for the Aredia and etidronate disodium groups decreased from baseline values to 10.4 and 11.2 mg/dL, respectively, on Day 7. At Day 14, 43% of patients in the Aredia group and 18% of patients in the etidronate disodium group still had normal-corrected serum calcium levels, or maintenance of a partial response. For responders in the Aredia and etidronate disodium groups, the median duration of response was similar (7 and 5 days, respectively). The time course of effect on corrected serum calcium is summarized in the following table.

Change in Corrected Serum Calcium by Timefrom Initiation of Treatment
Mean Change from Baseline in Corrected Serum Calcium (mg/dL)
Aredia®  Etidronate Disodium  P-Value1
Baseline  14.613.8

1Comparison between treatment groups

      In a third multicenter, randomized, parallel double-blind trial, a group of 69 cancer patients with hypercalcemia was enrolled to receive 60 mg of Aredia as a 4- or 24-hour infusion, which was compared to a saline-treatment group. Patients who had a corrected serum calcium level of ≥12.0 mg/dL after 24 hours of saline hydration were eligible for this trial.

      The mean baseline-corrected serum calcium levels for Aredia 60-mg 4-hour infusion, Aredia 60-mg 24-hour infusion, and saline infusion were 14.2 mg/dL, 13.7 mg/dL, and 13.7 mg/dL, respectively.

      By Day 7 after initiation of treatment, 78%, 61%, and 22% of the patients had normal-corrected serum calcium levels for the 60-mg 4-hour infusion, 60-mg 24-hour infusion, and saline infusion, respectively. At Day 14, 39% of the patients in the Aredia 60-mg 4-hour infusion group and 26% of the patients in the Aredia 60-mg 24-hour infusion group had normal-corrected serum calcium levels or maintenance of a partial response.

      For responders, the median duration of complete responses was 4 days and 6.5 days for Aredia 60-mg 4-hour infusion and Aredia 60-mg 24-hour infusion, respectively.

      In all three trials, patients treated with Aredia had similar response rates in the presence or absence of bone metastases. Concomitant administration of furosemide did not affect response rates.

      Thirty-two patients who had recurrent or refractory hypercalcemia of malignancy were given a second course of 60 mg of Aredia over a 4- or 24-hour period. Of these, 41% showed a complete response and 16% showed a partial response to the retreatment, and these responders had about a 3-mg/dL fall in mean-corrected serum calcium levels 7 days after retreatment.

      In a fourth multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial, 103 patients with cancer and hypercalcemia (corrected serum calcium ≥12.0 mg/dL) received 90 mg of Aredia as a 2-hour infusion. The mean baseline corrected serum calcium was 14.0 mg/dL. Patients were not required to receive IV hydration prior to drug administration, but all subjects did receive at least 500 mL of IV saline hydration concomitantly with the pamidronate infusion. By Day 10 after drug infusion, 70% of patients had normal corrected serum calcium levels (<10.8 mg/dL).


There have been several cases of drug maladministration of intravenous Aredia in hypercalcemia patients with total doses of 225 mg to 300 mg given over 2 ½ to 4 days. All of these patients survived, but they experienced hypocalcemia that required intravenous and/or oral administration of calcium. Single doses of Aredia should not exceed 90 mg and the duration of the intravenous infusion should be no less than 2 hours. (See WARNINGS.)

      In addition, one obese woman (95 kg) who was treated with 285 mg of Aredia/day for 3 days experienced high fever (39.5°C), hypotension (from 170/90 mmHg to 90/60 mmHg), and transient taste perversion, noted about 6 hours after the first infusion. The fever and hypotension were rapidly corrected with steroids.

      If overdosage occurs, symptomatic hypocalcemia could also result; such patients should be treated with short-term intravenous calcium.


Aredia is contraindicated in patients with clinically significant hypersensitivity to Aredia or other bisphosphonates.

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