Severe polyarthritis secondary to zolendronic acid: A case report and literature review

Sarah Louise White, Alyssa Jacob, Celia Gregson, Ashok Bhalla

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5 Citations (SciVal)


Intravenous zolendronic acid is an established anti-resorptive treatment for post-menopausal osteoporosis and is usually well tolerated. Common side effects, including the classical 'acute phase response', are consented for prior to treatment. However, rare but serious adverse reactions to zolendronic acid have been described. We report the case of an older patient with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis who presented within 12 hours of her first zolendronic acid infusion with evidence of a severe acute polyarthritis affecting her peripheral appendicular skeleton, in joints affected by preexisting osteoarthritis. Despite the prevalence of osteoarthritis, this is the most severe case of polyarthritis following intravenous zolendronic acid to date and only the second reported case. We remind prescribing physicians treating patients with intravenous bisphosphonates, to bear in mind possible rare serious adverse reactions as well as common benign side effects. We postulate age-associated frailty may reduce tolerability to even milder acute phase reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Acute phase reaction
  • Osteoporosis
  • Polyarthritis
  • Zolendronic acid


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