Short-term safety of zoledronic acid in young patients with bone disorders: An extensive institutional experience

Sobenna George, David R. Weber, Paige Kaplan, Kelly Hummel, Heather M. Monk, Michael A. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Context: Zoledronic acid (ZA) is increasingly used in young patients with bone disorders. However, data related to the safety of ZA administration in this population are limited. Objective: The study aimed to characterize the short-term safety profile of ZA and identify risk factors for ZA-related adverse events (AEs) in young patients. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a retrospective chart review of inpatients and outpatients less than 21 years old who received at least one ZA infusion between July 2010 and January 2014 at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Results: Eighty-one patients (56% male; median age, 12 y; age at first infusion, 0.5 to 20 y) with diverse skeletal disorders received a total of 204 infusions. The most common indications were osteoporosis (33% of cohort) and osteogenesis imperfecta (27.2%). The median ZA dose was 0.025 mg/kg (interquartile range, 0.025-0.05); the median dosing interval was 6 months (range, 1 to 25.6 mo). AEs were mild and more common after the first ZA infusion in patients with no previous bisphosphonate exposure:hypophosphatemia(25.2% of infusions), acute phase reactions (19.1%), and hypocalcemia (16.4%). Symptomatic hypocalcemia requiring iv calcium occurred after two infusions. ZA dose was significantly associated with hypophosphatemia, but not other AEs. Hypocalcemia was more common in patients with high bone turnover as assessed by preinfusion alkaline phosphatase levels. AEs were not associated with diagnosis, baseline serum calcium, or calcium/calcitriol supplementation. Conclusion: Acute AEs related to ZA infusion in youths are common, occur principally after the first ZA infusion in bisphosphonate-naive patients, and are typically mild and easily managed. Future prospective studies are needed to determine the potential long-term risks, as well as benefits, of ZA therapy in the pediatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4163-4171
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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