Last reviewed 01/2018
This is licensed for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and for the prevention and treatment of steroid induced osteoporosis.
This is given cyclically as etidronate 400mg for 14 days followed by elemental calcium 500 mg per day for 76 days.
Etidronate is taken cyclically to prevent defective mineralisation of bone.
There is evidence that beneficial effects on spine density and vertebral fracture rate in postmenopausal women may be maintained for at least 4 years with continual intermittent use. Data from a primary care research database in 7,977 patients on cyclic etidronate and 7.977 age/sex matched controls reported a reduction in non-vertebral fracture by 20% and hip fracture by 34% (1)
Side effects include nausea, dyspepsia and diarrhoea. These are rarely severe enough for the discontinuation of treatment.
The summary of product characteristics must be consulted before prescribing this drug.
- Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (1996), 34 (6), 45-8.
- Prescribers Journal (1997), 37 (2), 119-24.
unwanted effects and precautions
bisphosphonates in the treatment of osteoporosis