Reclast is classified as a bisphosphonate and is used to treat Paget’s disease. It is also prescribed to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Reclast works by inhibiting the release of calcium from the bones. Reclast is manufactured by Novartis and is administered intravenously once a year.
Reclast and the entire class of bisphosphonates have been linked to a number of serious side effects. Since 2001, there have been 2,400 reported cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) as a result of bisphosphonates. ONJ can be a severe debilitating disease that essentially causes bone decay and death of the jaw. Patients can become bedridden or confined to wheelchairs in serious cases.
Bisphosphonates have also been linked to atypical femur fractures—especially in patients who have been taking the drug for more than five years. Although it is rare, Reclast and other bisphosphonates’ labels have been updated to warn about this side effect.
Reclast has also been linked to atrial fibrillation and severe musculoskeletal pain. In one study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was seen that the use of these drugs can increase a patient’s risk of atrial fibrillation by 50 percent, especially in women. Severe musculoskeletal pain has also been linked to Reclast, and has been seen in some cases to be incapacitating.
Serious side effects may include:
- Urinating less than usual or not at all
- Drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, increased thirst, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
- Swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath
- Muscle spasms, numb or tingly feeling (especially around your mouth)
- Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms
- Pale skin, easy bruising, unusual weakness
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Severe joint, bone, or muscle pain
- New or unusual pain in your thigh or hip
- Bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing)
Less serious side effects may include:
- Vision problems
- Diarrhea, constipation
- Headache, tired feeling
- Mild joint or muscle pain
- Redness or swelling at the site of injection