Etidronate disodium

Brand names: Didronel

Why is Etidronate disodium prescribed?

Didronel tablets are prescribed for the treatment of Paget's bone disease, which causes pain, bone fractures, and problems in the circulatory and nervous systems. Didronel can decrease pain, increase your ability to move, and slow the progression of the disease.

Didronel is also prescribed following hip replacement and spinal cord injury to prevent abnormal bone formation and inflammation.

Most important fact about Etidronate disodium

You must maintain good nutrition while taking Didronel. In particular, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D.

How should you use Etidronate disodium?

Use Didronel exactly as directed. Take the Didronel as a single daily dose unless that causes stomach upset. In that case, your doctor will divide the prescribed amount into 2 doses taken during the day.

To maximize absorption of Didronel, avoid eating within 2 hours of taking the tablets.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature. Avoid excessive heat.

Etidronate disodium side effects

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue using Didronel.

  • Side effects may include:Diarrhea, increased bone pain, nausea, pain at previously pain-free sites

Why should Etidronate disodium not be prescribed?

Do not use Didronel if it has ever given you an allergic reaction, or if you have softening of the bones (a disorder called osteomalacia).

Special warnings about Etidronate disodium

Didronel's effects may build slowly and continue for months after you stop taking the drug. Your doctor will probably have you go 3 months without Didronel before increasing the dosage from your current dose.

If you have a problem with intestinal inflammation, be sure your doctor knows about it. Because the drug can cause diarrhea, it may not be suitable for you.

If you have Paget's disease, taking more of the drug than was prescribed, or taking it continuously for more than 6 months, may lead to softening of your bones, an increased risk of fracture, and kidney problems.

Arthritis of the joints (primarily in the jaw) has been reported in patients taking Didronel. If you experience jaw pain, contact your doctor or dentist.

Didronel may cause bone, joint, and/or muscle pain. If you develop these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Most pain stops when the drug is discontinued, but don't stop taking it without consulting your doctor first.

Possible food and drug interactions when using Etidronate disodium

Food interferes with the absorption of Didronel. In particular, avoid these foods and medicines within 2 hours of taking the drug:Foods high in calcium, such as milk, cheese, and other milk productsVitamin/mineral supplementsAntacids high in calcium, iron, magnesium, or aluminumThe blood-thinning drug warfarin (Coumadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Didronel during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, notify your doctor immediately. Didronel may affect skeletal development of the fetus, although the risk is not clear.

This drug appears in breast milk. If you are nursing and need to use Didronel, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding while using Didronel.

Recommended dosage for Etidronate disodium


The usual daily dose is 5 to 10 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight for no more than 6 months. Your doctor will individualize the dose to your needs, probably starting with 5 milligrams per 2.2 pounds. In some special cases, your doctor may prescribe 11 to 20 milligrams per 2.2 pounds daily for no more than 3 months. You should not take daily doses of more than 20 milligrams per 2.2 pounds.


The usual daily dose is 20 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight for 1 month before and 3 months after surgery.


The usual daily dose is 20 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight for 2 weeks, followed by 10 milligrams per 2.2 pounds for 10 weeks.


Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. Vomiting or diarrhea may mean you have overdosed on Didronel. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Etidronate Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Didronel Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Didronel Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Didronel MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Didronel Consumer Overview