We have conducted an open, prospective study to investigate the efficacy of a single 60 mg infusion of pamidronate as alternative therapy in 15 subjects with severe Paget’s bone disease refractory to calcitonin. Disease activity was assessed with a visual-analogue score of symptom severity, plasma alkaline phosphatase and quantitative estimation of <sup>99m</sup>Tc-methylene biphosphonate uptake on bone scan. All indices of disease activity fell after pamidronate, reaching a nadir at 3 months. Although disease activity increased thereafter, only 3 subjects required retreatment within 12 months. Plasma calcium fell after 3 days and remained below baseline levels for 6 months associated with evidence of secondary hyperparathyroidism. Pamidronate was well tolerated; femoral neck fractures occurred in 2 subjects with severe local Paget’s disease but were unlikely to be due to the drug. We conclude that pamidronate is an effective and promising alternative for treatment of patients with severe Paget’s disease no longer adequately controlled by calcitonin. Calcium supplementation may be prudent to prevent secondary hyperparathyroidism associated with the use of this agent.