Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Zoledronate infusion

What is zoledronate?

Zoledronate (also called zoledronic acid) is a powerful type of bisphosphonate. Bisphosphonates are used to treat osteoporosis and Paget's disease, and to prevent some forms of cancer from spreading in the bones.

How bisphosphonates work

Your bones are in a constant state of change. As new bone is added by cells called osteoblasts, old bone is dissolved by cells called osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates help to prevent these osteoclasts from dissolving (or resorbing) your bones.

Treatment with zoledronate

Zoledronate is given directly into your arm via a drip. This is called intravenous infusion. It takes between 15 and 30 minutes, and is carried out every one to two years by your general practitioner.

Your doctor will make sure you are taking vitamin D tablets at the same time as the infusion. This helps to keep your blood calcium levels normal.

Benefits of zoledronate

Zoledronate is proven to:

Side effects

Some patients have flu-like symptoms after the first treatment of zoledronate, but apart from this, side effects are not common. When considering zoledronate treatment, it is important to balance the small risk of side effects against the much greater risk of a major fracture.

Known side effects

Rare side effects

Preparing for the infusion

Before the infusion

Your zoledronate infusion may be carried out by your own GP or a specialist. The following steps need to be done before you have the infusion.

On the day of the infusion

See your doctor before attending the appointment if you have any questions about the procedure.

Talk to your doctor if you have any other questions about the medicine or your bone condition.

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Page created December 2015.


Page reference: 199181

Review key: HIOSP-24517