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Boniva Side Effects


When your doctor wants to prescribe an osteoporosis medication such as Boniva, does he or she take the time to warn you about Boniva’s side effects? It’s always interesting to me the way some doctors tend to be so heavy-handed in prescribing medications for osteoporosis. Because they see osteoporosis as a disease, they want to ply their patients with the “cure,” and as soon as possible. This is not necessarily a bad motivation; but it gets tense when doctors don’t take the time to discuss side effects and won’t listen to their patients’ legitimate and well-researched concerns about the side effects of osteoporosis drugs like Boniva.

Yes, we’ve all seen Sally Field’s smiling face, touting the drug like it’s the best thing that ever happened to your bones; but if you’ve read my post, ‘Boniva: What if Sally Field Told the Truth?’, then you are ahead of the game. Just because a celebrity endorses a product doesn’t make that product perfect, or even good for you!

The fact is, Boniva has some nasty side effects that bear pointing out and/or reiterating. I also want to take a look at the active chemical compound in Boniva.

First, the Bad News

There’s always bad news when it comes to the side effects of Boniva (and just about any drug intended to correct a problem that can be alleviated through natural means). You really don’t have to look far for some of these side effects and adverse reactions – they’re right on the label of the drug. Here are just some of them (there are too many to list all of them here):

  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the back, leg, muscles, or joints
  • Flu-like symptoms

More severe possible side effects include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the eye
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Persistent heart burn
  • Vision changes
  • Symptoms of low calcium levels in the blood (such as muscle cramps and spasms)

These are bad enough, but there are more. Some side effects are more insidious. You have to dig a little deeper to find the long-term side effects that Boniva can cause. I’ve already done some digging and posted the results here, in ‘Osteoporosis Drugs: the Shocking Truth’. The evidence is clear: oral bisphosphonates like Boniva have the potential to cause great damage to your body, including your bones.

That’s right – Boniva, despite its name and reputation, can actually cause brittle, dry hardness in your bones. According to research, the femur seems to be the most susceptible to damage due to brittle hardness. The jaw bone becomes susceptible to damage in another way – ample research connects Boniva with osteonecrosis of the jaw (osteonecrosis is bone death), a nasty bacterial infection of the jaw bone.

Next, More Bad News

The active chemical compound in Boniva is a substance called Ibandronate Sodium. If you take Boniva out of the equation for a moment and just look at the chemical substance, you’ll find some rather alarming information. Because Boniva has cornered the market of Ibandronate Sodium so that it’s inevitably connected to the drug name, objective information on this chemical is hard to find. But sites like and simply present information on the identification and proper handling of chemicals, and Ibandronate Sodium is included in their list. While both sites note that Ibandronate Sodium is not officially classified as a “hazardous substance,” they point out first aid measures to be taken if the chemical is inhaled, touched, or swallowed. For instance, ClearSynth classifies Ibandronate Sodium as “harmful if swallowed” and advises that ingestion and inhalation be avoided. Lookchem advises washing Ibandronate Sodium off the skin with “soap and plenty of water,” and to use water to rinse the mouth of an unconscious person who has ingested it. Apparently, sites like these didn’t get the “hush-hush” memo from Boniva.

And Last, the Good News

There is good news! There’s good news even if you are taking Boniva already and suffering side effects. There’s good news if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis and have reservations about taking the drug. The good news is this: there’s an all-natural program called Save Our Bones that is effective, safe, and scientifically proven. Regardless of where you are on your bone health journey – whether you’re focusing on prevention or reversing an existing condition – there’s no need to dread or suffer the side effects of drugs like Boniva. The Save Our Bones Program can help you avoid Boniva’s dangerous side effects and build and strengthen your bones naturally.

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16 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Nancy Schmidt March 9, 2014, 1:38 am

    I was just diagnosed with osteoporosis 2 days ago and my doctor first prescribed alendronate or fosamax. I told her that my friends who took it had severe bone pain. She then told me to try Boniva instead. Now after reading all your helpful comments about Boniva’s side effects, the more I am resistant to take any meds for osteoporosis. Can just calcium and vitamin D not help at all ?

    • Mary May 14, 2014, 12:03 pm

      My doctor prescribed Fosomax for me to take and I started feeling awful. I had pain all over and started feeling worse than I have ever felt in my life. I took it for 4 months and finally decided to not take it. I told my doctor and she said I could start Boniva and if Boniva caused my problems, she would give me a once yearly IV of another bone medication. I decided to not take anything that the doctor discussed because of the scary side effects. I decided to take liquid calcium and Strontium to help the calcium absorb well. I am still worried about me bones, but the side effects of the bone medication scare me more than anything. I’m still researching all options.

  2. Chris November 26, 2013, 7:18 am

    I’m a breast cancer survivor. Was on tamoxifen until full menopause occured. Now on anastrozole which is has caused rapid osteoporosis. My doc has given the option to stay on anastrozole and add Boniva or Femera or switch back to Tamoxifen. Which could compromise my cancer risks but she feels the bone density loss would correct itself. What’s a girl to do?

  3. sharif October 1, 2013, 10:04 pm

    Severe lowback pain lasted for 10 days

  4. toni August 6, 2013, 9:15 pm

    I noticed that my thigh has been hurting and after I tske it for thr month i’m v very much uncomfortable I ha ve been on it abouy 5 years is it time to stop?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 7, 2013, 11:13 am

      It’s always a good time to stop Boniva in my opinion, Toni!

  5. Michelle Radin July 2, 2013, 3:35 pm

    Is there anyone out there taking Boniva that has had a positive outcome and few side effects? I have just been prescribed Boniva and took one pill two days ago. I am on femera because I have positive estrogen receptors. I had a partial mastectomy on January 8th and have a great prognosis. I already have joint pain in my hands from the femera and don’t need any other pill to give me more joint pain. I also don’t want to take some home remedy that does absolutely nothing to help me. Please give me some advice.

  6. Jackie Waite May 24, 2013, 1:33 pm

    I took Boniva YUK and after becoming aware of it’s hazards and how bad it was for me, I quit about a year ago. What concerns me is I have a pain behind my right eye. I’ve been checked out by a great eye doctor and even had a CAT scan, but all seems healthy. I just read in your post that Boniva can cause eye pain? Could this be the cause?? Please respond.

  7. Cynthia Wilson May 23, 2013, 7:30 am

    At the website, there are over 1400 detailed patient reviews for BONIVA. The vast majority of the reviews are negative and give specific symptoms that were caused by BONIVA. With this number of negative ratings, one wonders why the FDA would allow this substance to be used as a medicine. And I really think this is just the tip of the iceberg. I took just ONE pill over a year ago and am still suffering the effects of this drug after a professional dietary detox and electrical stimulation to my joints, which was expensive and time consuming.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 23, 2013, 2:47 pm

      Cynthia, it’s sad but true that the FDA is just not objective when it comes to approving and marketing drugs. :(

  8. nancy freeman March 5, 2013, 10:58 pm

    I took 2 doses of Boniva and had extreme hip and back pain. Ive been a nurse for 30+ yrs and would never recommend this med

  9. Guillermo October 30, 2012, 7:18 pm

    Ibendonitry acid injected in the vein is safer?

  10. Kathleen Milam October 12, 2012, 11:54 am

    My doctor prescribed Boniva for me a few years ago and I took one dose. When I woke up 24 hours later, I couldn’t move. My body was racked in pain, even moving my eyelashes caused me pain. I couldn’t stand, sit down, lie down or walk without excruciating pain shooting all thru my upper body. My doctor thought I was having a heart attack but I wasn’t. He sent me to the emergency room (Methodist Hospital at the Houston Medical Center) and the attending doctor had never heard of Boniva! I should have asked for someone else right there. I was given a lot of tests, some morphine which allowed me to sleep for 30 minutes, then told I had Plurisy and sent home! I spent three weeks lying on the sofa because I couldn’t even get into my own bed. I craved the pain killers every four hours because it allowed me to get a little sleep. It only started getting better when I took anti-inflamatory medication. Eventually, I was able to move my fingers slightly and it took another three weeks for the medication to go thru my system. My husband and I thought I was going to be paralysed in pain for good at the beginning. Not a very nice thought. My doctor reported the effects Boniva and said someone should be contacting me. I never heard from anyone, not surprising. This was an experience I will never forget.

  11. sheila October 11, 2012, 9:17 am

    has anyone taking strontium . are there side effects. please advise

    • Mary May 14, 2014, 12:13 pm

      I have been taking Strontium (made from sea weed) with my liquid calcium for about 2 months with no problem. I got the vitamin from Vitacost along with the liquid calcium. It is said to help the calcium absorb. I’m so happy to find this web page. I took Fosomax for 4 months and quit last week. In the last 2 weeks of taking it I started having bad body aches in my back, ribs and my index finger also swelled up. I decided that my quality of life was much worse taking this medication and I quit. I told my doctor and she said I could take Boniva. I read up on the side effects of Boniva and told my doctor I wasn’t going to take it or the alternative IV medication (once a year IV for bone loss) either. I’m so happy to read of other women with the same issues and decisions to quit these types of medications. I will continue to take my vitamin D, Calcium and Strontium and keep walking 4 miles a day. If anyone finds better solutions please post. I just feel that any medication that causes such side effects and pain isn’t good. (except for cancer medications )

    • Kay October 11, 2012, 11:15 am

      Been interested. Where do u get it?

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