Bisphosphonate infusions: patient preference, safety and clinic use

B. Chern, D. Joseph, D. Joshua, K. Pittman, G. Richardson, M. Schou, S. Lowe, M. Copeman, R. De Abreu Lourenco, K. Lynch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Goals of work: We set out to assess the preference of patients with common cancers involving bone receiving intravenous bisphosphonate therapy for either pamidronate (P) or zoledronic acid (Z) and their preference for the location of the infusion (clinic or home). We also aimed to monitor these patients' renal safety, and to compare their time in clinic to receive P and Z infusions. Patients and methods: Enrolled in the study were 184 patients, and all received initial infusions of Z (so any first infusion reactions did not confound preferences for P). For their second and third infusions, patients were randomized to receive Z then P or P then Z, and questioned on their preferences. For up to 1 year they continued on Z infusions every 3-4 weeks, while their renal safety was monitored. Where practical, later infusions were given at home (rather than in the clinic) and patients questioned on their preferred infusion location. In a convenience subset of 43 patients, clinic use for Z and P infusions was also measured by timing infusions and other procedures. Main results: Of 144 patients who received a third infusion, 138 responded to questions on bisphosphonate preference, and of these 138, 92% (127) preferred Z to P, because shorter infusions caused less disruption to their day. Only 12% of eligible patients (16/138) received home infusions, but 13/14 questioned preferred this location. Among 184 patients, 19 episodes of renal impairment were noted, mostly owing to disease progression (e.g. obstructive uropathy), with none linked to Z therapy. The mean clinic time taken to receive Z and any concomitant therapy was about half that for P (78 vs 161 min). Conclusions: Cancer patients prefer shorter bisphosphonate infusions-and at home, where practical. Regular Z 4 mg infusions appear to be safe in these patients, with routine monitoring of serum creatinine. Using Z rather than P could save busy cancer centres time and improve patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-466
Number of pages4
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bisphosphonates
  • Bone metastases
  • Location
  • Preference
  • Safety


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