etidronate - calcium carbonate
In this drug factsheet:DIN (Drug Identification Number)
|02176017 ||DIDROCAL ORAL TABLETS|
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
This medication contains two different medications to be taken at different times: etidronate and calcium carbonate. Etidronate belongs to a family of medications known as bisphosphonates. Etidronate and calcium carbonate are used in combination to treat and prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. It can also be used to prevent steroid-induced osteoporosis (osteoporosis caused by taking corticosteroids such as prednisone for long periods of time).
Etidronate increases the thickness of bone (bone mineral density) by slowing down the cells that usually break down bone (osteoclasts). This allows the cells that build bone (osteoblasts) to work more efficiently. By making bones stronger, etidronate can help to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures. Calcium is one of the building blocks of bones and therefore helps to prevent bone loss.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
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How should I use this medication?
This medication is taken in 90-day cycles that are repeated. Each cycle consists of 14 white etidronate 400 mg tablets (to be taken once daily on an empty stomach with a full glass of water) and 76 blue calcium tablets (to be taken once daily for the following 76 days, with a full glass of water).
The white etidronate tablets should be taken at bedtime with a full glass of water on an empty stomach (at least 2 hours before or after eating). Food in the stomach, especially if it is high in calcium, may prevent etidronate from being properly absorbed into the body. Vitamins with minerals such as iron and calcium, laxatives containing magnesium, and antacids containing calcium or aluminum should not be taken within 2 hours before or after taking etidronate (the white tablets in the first 2 weeks of therapy).
Calcium carbonate can prevent other medications from being properly absorbed into the body, so it is best to take them at least 2 hours before taking other medications. For this reason, it is suggested that the blue calcium tablets be taken at bedtime with a full glass of water, on either an empty or full stomach. If you find the tablets difficult to swallow, you can crush or chew them.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor in a cyclical fashion. If you miss a dose of your medication, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
The Didrocal 90-day therapy is supplied in a unit-of-use dispensing system that consists of patient instructions, a prescription refill reminder card, and the therapy tablets on 5 blister cards. The Didrocal therapy consists of etidronate disodium administered for 14 days followed by calcium carbonate administered for the next 76 days.
The first blister card contains a 14-day supply of 14 tablets. Each white, capsule-shaped, scored tablet, marked with "NE" on one face and "406" marked on the other, contains etidronate disodium 400 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and pregelatinized starch. Lactose-free.
The remaining 4 blister cards contain a 76-day supply of 76 tablets. Each blue, capsule-shaped, coated tablet, with "NE2" engraved on both sides, contains elemental calcium 500 mg as calcium carbonate 1,250 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol 3350, polysorbate 80, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide. Lactose-free.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take etidronate - calcium carbonate if you:
- are allergic to etidronate disodium or any ingredients of the medication
- have osteomalacia (softening of the bones)