This patient likely has early osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), an uncommon complication of bisphosphonate therapy. No definite link has been established between ONJ and other MM therapies (eg, lenalidomide, an immunomodulatory drug structurally related to thalidomide). While the overall incidence of ONJ is likely less than 5%, the risk appears to be related to the duration of bisphosphonate exposure and occurs more frequently with zoledronic acid than pamidronate, leading some experts to recommend the latter as the preferred therapy.5 Although prospective data are lacking, patients with suspected ONJ generally should have bisphosphonate therapy discontinued, particularly in the setting of well-controlled myeloma. Radiotherapyitself a risk for ONJwould only be beneficial in the setting of progressive myeloma involving the jaw, such as a new lytic bone lesion. Early referral to an oral surgeon with experience managing patients with ONJ is strongly encouraged.
- Immediately discontinue zoledronic acid.
5. Lacy MQ, Dispenzieri A, Gertz MA, et al. Mayo Clinic consensus statement for the use of bisphosphonates in multiple myeloma. Mayo Clin Proc 2006;81:1047-53.
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