Aclasta infusions for osteoporosis

General information

  • Aclasta (a bisphosphonate) is administered once every 1-2 years via a 15 minute intravenous infusion, and replaces daily or weekly tablets (e.g. Alendronate (Fosamax) or Etidronate) in osteoporosis patients.
  • In September 2010 Aclasta (Zoledronic acid) became fully funded under special authority allowing general practitioners to prescribe and administer it.
  • The degree of bone loss is normally assessed by your doctor using a bone density (DEXA) scan, and is reported as a T score.

Aclasta is indicated and funded for:

  • Osteoporosis4Treatment of osteoporosis in women and men who have either:
    • 2 osteoporotic fractures, or
    • 1 osteoporotic fracture and a T-score < -2.5, or
    • T score < -3.0
  • Treatment of Paget’s disease
  • Treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis
  • Prevention of fractures in patients after low trauma hip fracture

How often should an Aclasta infusion be given?

The suggested frequency varies between physicians. However, for the average patient we recommend giving it at 0, 18, and 36 months (i.e. 3 infusions over a 3 year period.)  Occasionally it may be used for longer.  Studies do not support any significant benefit for use beyond 6 years of treatment.  Duration of treatment should be:

  • 3 years – for normal risk osteoporosis patients
  • 6 years – for very high risk osteoporosis patients

Cost

Initial doctor’s consult Standard consultation fee (see our Fees Page)
Aclasta, etc. script $5 / item at the pharmacy (for patients who meet the funding criteria above)
Infusion Service (giving the Aclasta) $120

Process

If you think you may be a candidate for an Aclasta infusion, here are the steps.  Arrange the initial Doctor’s Appointment and we will walk you through it:

  1. Doctor’s appointment:  Book an appointment to see your doctor (Dr Rollinson or Dr Fountain) for an osteoporosis consultation.  Please do not try to squeeze this into another consultation, as there is a lot to cover.  This consult is to:
    1. assess whether you are a suitable candidate for Aclasta
    2. arrange appropriate blood tests to ensure you are fit to have Aclasta
    3. provide you with information about the procedure and check your medications
    4. apply for Special Authority funding to meet the $600 cost of the Aclasta infusion
    5. supply you with prescriptions for Aclasta, Paracetamol, Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
    6. arrange a time for you to return for the Aclasta infusion
  2. Nurse appointment:  Return to have your Aclasta infusion at the scheduled time.  Please remember to bring your Aclasta with you when you come.  Allow at least 30 minutes for this appointment.
  3. Book follow/up infusions:  You will be put on our recall system to organise any subsequent infusions that are required, and our nurse will contact you when these become due.

Any Questions

  • More detailed information can be found in this patient handout, Aclasta Info.
  • If you have any additional questions feel free to Contact Us, by email preferably (or by phone) and a nurse will be able to phone you back to discuss.