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Information sheet on zoledronic acid (Zometa) in Early Breast Cancer


Information sheet on zoledronic acid (Zometa) in Early Breast Cancer


This leaflet provides information about a course of treatment for patients with early breast cancer called zoledronic acid.   This is usually called Zometa.   The leaflet will explain what this is, why it is given and how it is given.   It will also tell you about common side effects you may experience.   Contact telephone numbers are given at the end of the leaflet.


What is Zometa?

Zometa is a drug that helps strengthen and repair bone damage.   It is not a chemotherapy drug.   It is one of a group of drugs called bisphosphonates.   It is given as an infusion through a dropper.


Why am I given Zometa?

Your consultant has prescribed Zometa because new research trials have shown that Zoledronic Acid can help prevent the return of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who have no disease ie after surgery/radiotherapy and chemotherapy for early breast cancer.


How will Zometa be given?

Zometa is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm.  



Where will my treatment be given?

Zometa will be given either at the Felindre Cancer Centre, the Felindre Outreach clinic at a local hospital or at the mobile chemotherapy unit.



How long will my appointment take?

The Zometa treatment will take about half an hour. You would normally have a blood test 7-10 days before your Zometa and you will be assessed by the nursing staff on the unit.


Can I bring relatives and friends with me?


You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment.   Space is limited in the waiting areas and the treatment room so there is usually no room for more than one person.   Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.


How often will I have treatment?

You will have a total of 6 infusions every 6 months. If you are having chemotherapy, the first infusion will be given with one of your treatment cycles.   The treatment will last for a total of 3 years.


What are the possible side effects?

This treatment is usually well tolerated, but there are some possible side effects that you need to be aware of.   The doctors, nurses and pharmacy team can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.


Flu-like symptoms

Zometa can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, weakness, sleepiness, headache, chills and aches in your muscles, joints and bones.   In most cases, you do not need any specific treatment, and the symptoms should improve after a few days.   However, taking paracetamol can be helpful.


Nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite

The severity of this varies from person to person but most people do not have a problem with nausea and vomiting.   If you have these symptoms tell your doctor or

nurse   He can give you anti-sickness medicine to take at home.


Skin reactions

A skin reaction is not very common.   However, sometimes the skin around the site of the spill may become red and swollen.   Some people may develop a rash and itching.   If this happens, tell your doctor or nurse.



If you develop red, sore and itchy eyes, talk to your doctor.


Changes in kidney function

You will have a blood test before each dose.   The purpose of this test is to ensure that your kidney function is normal.  


Muscle spasms/twitching

If you have any unusual cramps / spasms / convulsions, tell your doctor or specialist nurse as it could be due to low levels of certain minerals in your blood; we can treat this with supplements if needed.


Uncommon side effects


Very occasionally, an uncommon side effect can occur with Zometa, when the jaw bone breaks down.   It's called osteonecrosis of the jaw, and it can be a serious condition. This can also happen after stopping treatment.


Some of the symptoms are:


·        pain, swelling or infection in the gums

·        the teeth loosening

·        the gums heal poorly

·        numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw


If you have any of the symptoms listed above or any other dental problems, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.



We recommend that you visit your dentist to ensure that any urgent dental work is completed before you start Zometa.   You should always tell your dentist that you are having bisphosphonate treatment.


Dental health

Always try to keep your mouth clean and healthy and make sure your dentures fit correctly. You can still see your dentist for your routine checkups and cleanings. If you require any invasive dental work (Root Canal or Extractions) throughout your treatment, this must be done 6-8 weeks before or after your treatment date. Please inform the Bisphosphonates Team if any work is required. Please note that if you undergo any dental work close to the time of your appointment, your treatment will not be given.


It is recommended that you visit your dental hygienist; show him this leaflet, as it is important that the dentist and hygienist know that you are having Zometa Treatment.



Is it ok to take other medicines?

If you are taking other medicines, tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.  


Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which can be life threatening in rare cases. It is important to inform Velindre Cancer Center if you are concerned about any side effects.



Manufacturer's information leaflets for patients

Felindre leaflets provide information on common and very common side effects: for more information on the less common side effects, please refer to the manufacturer's patient information leaflets, available from the Felindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at www . Sometimes, patients will find it difficult to read these leaflets. Ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy


Contact Telephone Numbers



Velindre Cancer Centre              029 2061 5888

For emergency advice at any time of the day or night, just ask

about the Treatment Helpline .


Auxiliary Bisphosphonates Service Contact Details for Non-Urgent or Administrative Enquiries:




Telephone Number: 029 2061 5888 ext 6706





Department of pharmacy             029 2061 5888 ext 6223

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for inquiries about your medicines



Tenovus Freephone                  0808 808 1010

cancer helpline

7 days a week 8am – 8pm for general cancer enquiries









This information is also available in English.




This leaflet has been written by health professionals.   The information in this leaflet is based on evidence.   It was approved by doctors, nurses and patients.   It is reviewed and updated annually.






















Prepared July 2018