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Zometa A1057

Zometa A1057

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

What is Zometa?

Zometa is a drug which helps to 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 a drip.

Why am I having Zometa?

Your doctor has prescribed Zometa because new research trials have shown that Zoldronic Acid can help prevent breast cancer from returning in post-menopausal women who have no disease i.e. 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 in Velindre Cancer Centre, a Velindre Outreach clinic at a local hospital or on the mobile chemotherapy unit.  We will discuss this with you. 

How long will my appointment take?

The Zometa treatment will take approximately half an hour. You would normally have a blood test a few weeks before your Zometa and a telephone clinic appointment to ensure you are able to receive your treatment.

Can I bring relatives and friends with me?

You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person.  Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.

How often will I receive treatment?

You will have a total of 6 infusions at approximately 6 monthly intervals. If you are having chemotherapy the first infusion will be given with one of your cycles of treatment.  The treatment will last for 3 years in total.

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 pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.

Flu-like symptoms

Zometa may cause flu like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, 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, loss 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 do have these symptoms please tell your doctor or

nurse.  They can give you anti-sickness medication to take at home.

Skin reactions

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


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

Changes in kidney function

You will have a blood test before each dose.  This test is to ensure your kidney function is normal.  

Muscle spasms/twitches

If you have any unusual cramps/ spasms/twitches please let you doctor or specialist nurse know as it may be due to low levels of certain minerals in your blood, we can treat this with supplements if necessary.

Rare side effects

Osteonecrosis of the jaw

Very occasionally, a rare side effect can occur with Zometa, when there is a breakdown of the jaw bone.  It is called osteonecrosis of the jaw and can be a serious condition. Some of the symptoms are:

  • pain, swelling or infection of the gums
  • loosening of the teeth
  • poor healing of the gums
  • numbness or feeling of heaviness in the jaw

If you have any of the symptoms listed above or any other dental problems tell your doctor or specialist nurse.

This can occur after stopping treatment also.

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

Dental health

Try to keep your mouth clean and healthy at all times. Please ensure your dentures fit correctly. You can continue to see your dentist for your normal, regular check ups and cleaning, but you should not have dental treatment, unless you have spoken to your doctor and dentist.  You can see your dental hygienist.  Show them this leaflet, as it is important that the dentist and dental hygienist know that you are taking Zometa. 

Is it alright to take other medicines?

If you are taking other medicines please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know.  

Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects.

Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets

Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and common side-effects: for more information regarding the less common side-effects please refer to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy

Contact telephone numbers

Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888

For urgent advice at any time of the day or night please ask 

for the treatment helpline.

Adjuvant Bisphosphonate Service Contact Details for Non-urgent or Administrative Queries:


Phone: 029 2061 5888 Please ask for CNS Office

Pharmacy department 029 2061 5888 ext 6223

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

Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010

cancer helpline 

Macmillan freephone Helpline 0808 808 0000


This information is also available in Welsh

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

Prepared July 2018