Boniva is the pill for treatment and prevention of Osteoporosis advertized by Sally Field. It is taken monthly on an empty stomach followed by at least 8 ounces of water. No other food or drink is allowed for at least one hour. Boniva is one of the Bisphosphonates and has all of the potential benefits and risks of that class. The most common problems are heartburn, GERD and esophagus and stomach issues.
Boniva had been used in a few patients with rare cases of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) and Atypical Fractures of the Femur. There is not yet any conclusive evidence that Boniva, or any other Antiresorptive or Bisphosphonate, causes these conditions.
Boniva is an Oral Bisphosphonate and has the same safety and effectiveness issues as others in this class. Read about these issues in the sections about Antiresorptives, Bisphosphonates, and Oral Bisphosphonates.
Boniva is usually effective for preserving bone and preventing osteoporosis in patients who can tolerate it. Remember that it only works if you take enough Calcium and Vitamin D.
Boniva is also available in a shot as IV Boniva once every 3 months. This formulation avoids esophagus and stomach issues.
Jay Ginther, MD
2008 / Revised March 2011