Boniva - For Osteoporosis is Now Available in Generic!

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide

    If you are taking Boniva® monthly medication for your osteoporosis and finding it very expensive, or your insurance doesn't cover it-well, good news is here-it's now available in generic. 


    When a brand name drug becomes available in generic that means the original patent has expired and other companies can manufacture it at a much lower price.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the drug to meet certain criteria of exactness for this process to take place; this way you know that the generic is equivalent to the brand name except for some inactive ingredients.  If you have allergies to some inactive ingredients, please check with your pharmacist to see if any of these may be included in the generic form of Boniva.

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    The monthly pill for osteoporosis is a convenient way to take a medication, so the reduction in price makes it doubly so.


    Here are the administration instructions, side effects, and precautions, medications that interfere with Boniva and who should take this drug, to help you to decide if this medication is right for you.


    How to take Boniva generic:


    • Take on an empty stomach (before first meal) with 8 ounces of plain water
    • Stay upright for 60 minutes following administration (sitting or standing)
    • Do not take with milk, juice, coffee or other liquid than plain water
    • Do not crush, chew or suck on the pill, swallow it whole [1]


    Common side effects:


    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Muscle, back, arm and leg pain
    • Heartburn
    • Stomach pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Headache [1]


    Adverse side effects:



    **If you have low blood calcium prior to taking Boniva be sure to have your doctor correct this.  Vitamin D supplements will be recommended as well to take with your medication.


    Precautions with Boniva to discuss with your doctor:


    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Stomach or digestive problems
    • If you have low blood calcium
    • Planning dental work or tooth extraction
    • Kidney problems
    • Have trouble with absorbing minerals
    • Are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
    • Breast-feeding [1]


    Medications that may interfere with Bonivas' absorption:


    • Antacids
    • Aspirin
    • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories [1]


    Boniva is approved for post menopausal women and men with an osteoporosis diagnosis.


    Check with your doctor to see if this medication is right for you.  Taking a monthly medication for osteoporosis can be convenient but make sure it's the right choice. 


    You must wait to take any vitamins or supplements after taking Boniva.  Calcium and antacids interfere with the absorption, so wait at least one hour before taking these types of supplements including multiple vitamins and minerals.


    According to a study done by Genentech on Boniva, Boniva oral tablet produced increases in lumbar spine BMD that were progressive over 3 years of treatment and were statistically significant relative to placebo at 6 months and at all later time points. Lumbar spine BMD increased by 6.4% after 3 years of treatment with Boniva  oral tablet compared with 1.4% in the placebo group. [1]


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    The FDA recently recommended that those taking bisphosphonates (Boniva, Actonel, Reclast and Fosamax) should limit their treatment to 3-5 years of use due to the risk of atypical femur fractures. [2] If you've reached this cut-off time period, discuss other options with your treating physician for osteoporosis treatment.


    All patients taking a bisphosphonate should be screened for kidney disorders by having a creatinine clearance test (results should be above 35mL/min). [1] If your doctor doesn't order this test, please be sure to remind him/her of this important test for kidney function.






    1. Boniva Prescribing Information from Genentech Pharmaceutical USA; Last revision January 2011, retrieved April 17, 2012.  .


    1. FDA Warning on Atypical Femur Fractures; September 14, 2010, retrieved April 17, 2012


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Published On: April 17, 2012