Zometa (zoledronate) is a bisphosphonate medication used to treat cancer patients.  It is taken intervenously (through an IV).

The use of bisphosphonate medications, such as Zometa, Aredia and Fosamax, have been linked to an increased occurrence of osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful and potentially disfiguring jaw bone condition.

Zometa is used in the treatment of:

  • hypercalcemia of malignancy
  • patients with multiple myeloma
  • patients with documented bone metastases from solid tumors

There have not been any indications that patients should not be given Zometa for treatment of cancer.  However, many experts agree that it is important for patients and dentists to be aware of the increased risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw and bones.  Avoiding dental procedures, even as small as a tooth extraction, could significantly reduce the occurrence of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Unfortunately, necrosis of the joints affects the patients mobility and function regardless of whether any surgical work is done or not.

Those taking bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, Actonel, Aredia or Zometa, should notify their dentist or dental surgeon before any treatment.  Elective dental procedures should be avoided, and for necessary procedures precautions should be taken to minimize the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Those with joint pain in the knee, hips and shoulder should notify their doctors to the pain, as it is a sign of the weakening of the bones in the joints.

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