Didrocal or Didronel (Etidronate) is a biphosphonate medicine used to prevent and treat thinning of the bones (called osteoporosis), a condition called Paget’s disesase, and other diseases where loss of bone mass is a concern.
Biphosphonates are a class of medicines that all work in a similar way to help the bones.
Didrocal is available as an oral tablet that is taken in 90-day cycles. For the first 14 days, 400 mg of Didrocal is taken each day. For the remaining 76 days, a 500 mg calcium tablet is taken.
Didrocal should be taken first thing in the morning. Patients should not lie down after taking this medicine.
Didrocal should be taken on an empty stomach. Patients should wait at least 1 hour before taking any other medication, or eating or drinking anything other than clean water (no coffee, juice, or tea). It is recommended that patients drink a full glass of water while taking their tablet.
To help build the bones, patients should take calcium and vitamin D supplements while taking Actonel. Doctors will tell their patients the right amount of calcium and vitamin D to take. Patients should take these supplements exactly as prescribed by their doctor.
Important Tests and Risks
Doctors need to monitor the response of patients taking Didrocal. This is done with a Bone Mineral Density test, usually once every 1 to 3 years.
Biphosphonate medicines like Didrocal have been associated with a very rare problem with the jaw called osteonecrosis. This problem is sometimes seen after dental work. Patients should let their doctor know if they develop sudden pain in the jaw.
Alcohol is known to increase fracture risk by decreasing bone mineral density and promoting osteoperosis. Patients who are prescribed Didrocal should stop drinking alcohol, or at least reduce the amount of alcohol that they drink.