We have talked about Reclast and Prolia, two meds for osteoporosis. We have not talked about Zometa and Xgeva, two meds for prevention and treatment of cancer spreading to bone (metastases). We should.
Reclast and Zometa are the same drug (Zolendronate) given in different doses for different diseases. Prolia and Xgeva are the same drug (Denosumab) given in different doses for different diseases.
When a patient has cancer, drastic measures become reasonable treatment. Much higher doses are justified by the desperation of the disease. Naturally, much higher doses often lead to increased risk of side effects. To avoid side effects as much as possible, we always try to use the least medication needed to effectively treat the disease the patient has.
Using different names for the different doses of the same medication helps assure that we always use the correct dose. As a doctor treating osteoporosis, I learn about and prescribe Prolia and Reclast. Cancer doctors (oncologists) learn about and prescribe Xgeva and Zometa.
Of course, for any of these meds and doses to work properly, you must take enough Calcium and Vitamin D.
Jay Ginther, MD