Cacit (disodium etidronate with calcium carbonate leaflet)

This is a combination treatment which contains two types of tablets. Follow the instructions on the pack carefully. If after reading the directions you are still unsure how to take the tablets, ask your pharmacist for further advice.

If you buy any medicines, make sure your pharmacist knows that you are taking these tablets.

Good dental hygiene is particularly important with this treatment - this means that you must brush your teeth regularly and have routine dental check-ups.

About disodium etidronate with calcium carbonate

Type of medicine Bisphosphonate with a calcium supplement
Used for Osteoporosis
Available as Didronel PMO® - a combination treatment containing two types of tablets called Didronel® (disodium etidronate) and Cacit® (effervescent calcium carbonate)

Osteoporosis is a bone disease which causes your bones to become brittle and fragile, making them prone to breaks and fractures. During our lifetime, old bone tissue is constantly being broken down and replaced by new bone. After the age of about 30-35 years, our bone begins to lose density because old bone is lost faster than new bone can replace it. Women in particular have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, as they lose bone material rapidly after the menopause.

Bisphosphonate medicines, such as disodium etidronate, slow down the rate at which old bone is lost. New bone continues to be made and this leads to an overall increase in bone density, which reduces the risk of broken bones and fractures. Bones also need calcium to help keep them strong and healthy.

Didronel PMO® is a combination treatment which contains two types of tablets - Didronel® and Cacit®. Each white Didronel® tablet contains disodium etidronate. Each pink Cacit® tablet contains calcium carbonate. You will be asked to take one Didronel® tablet every day for 14 days. After you have finished taking these tablets, you will be asked to take one Cacit® tablet every day for a further 76 days. This means that each treatment pack will last you 90 days in total (three months).

Before taking Didronel PMO® tablets

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking these tablets it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are due to have any dental treatment in the near future.
  • If you have recently had a broken bone which may not have completely healed.
  • If you have ever had kidney stones, or a problem with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you have ever been told you have too much calcium in your blood or urine.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

How to take Didronel PMO® tablets

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the two types of tablet, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking them. It is important that you take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • Each treatment pack contains a total of 14 white Didronel® tablets and 76 pink Cacit® tablets. Take one white tablet every day for 14 days. After you have finished taking these, starting from the next day, take one pink tablet every day for 76 days. Try to take the tablets at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
  • How to take disodium etidronate tablets (Didronel®): it is recommended that you swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Take your doses 'on an empty stomach' - this means that you should take the tablets about two hours before a meal, or wait until two hours afterwards. Also, do not drink milk for two hours before or after taking these tablets. This is because calcium in the milk can prevent disodium etidronate from being absorbed properly.
  • How to take calcium carbonate tablets (Cacit®): you must dissolve these tablets in water before taking. Add one tablet to a glass of water, and then as soon as the fizzing stops, drink it. You can take these tablets with or without food or milk.
  • If you forget to take a tablet, don't worry, just take a tablet on the next day as usual. Do not take two tablets together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. 
  • Good dental hygiene is particularly important while you are taking these tablets - brush your teeth regularly and remember to have routine dental check-ups. Tell your dentist that you are taking Didronel PMO®, as some dental treatments may not be recommended for you while you are taking disodium etidronate tablets.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because some mineral supplements, iron preparations, and some laxative and indigestion remedies reduce the amount of disodium etidronate which your body absorbs. This may make your treatment less effective.
  • Each course of treatment will last you for three months. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor.
  • Eating a well balanced diet and taking regular exercise can help your bones stay strong. Remember to follow any exercise or dietary advice your doctor gives to you.
  • Chemicals from tobacco can get into your bloodstream and can affect your bones, making bone loss worse. If you smoke, you should try to make every effort to stop. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on stopping.

Can these tablets cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take these tablets
What can I do if I experience this?
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids
Feeling sick, abdominal pain, wind Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals
Constipation Try to eat a well balanced diet and drink several glasses of water a day
Rare, but possibly serious side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
A severe itchy skin rash Speak with your doctor straightaway - this may be a sign of an allergic reaction
Pain in your thigh, hip, or groin Speak with your doctor as soon as possible - these may be signs of a thigh bone fracture
A loose tooth, or jaw pain with swelling or numbness Speak with your doctor as soon as possible - these may be signs of a problem called osteonecrosis of the jaw

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to these tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store Didronel PMO® tablets

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.