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What is Boniva?

Boniva (ibandronate) is a bisphosphonate medicine that alters bone formation and breakdown in the body. This can slow bone loss and may help prevent bone fractures.

Boniva is a prescription medicine used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in women after menopause. Ibandronate helps increase bone mass and helps reduce the chance of having a spinal fracture.

It is not known how long Boniva works for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. You should see your doctor regularly to determine if this medicine is still right for you.

Important Information

You should not use Boniva if you have severe kidney disease or low levels of calcium in your blood.

Do not take a tablet if you have problems with your esophagus, or if you cannot sit upright or stand for at least 60 minutes after taking the tablet.

Boniva tablets can cause serious problems in the stomach or esophagus. Stop taking Boniva and call your doctor at once if you have chest pain, new or worsening heartburn, or pain when swallowing.

Also call your doctor if you have muscle spasms, numbness or tingling (in hands and feet or around the mouth), new or unusual hip pain, or severe pain in your joints, bones, or muscles.

Boniva Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Boniva: hives; wheezing, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Chest pain, new or worsening heartburn
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Pain or burning under the ribs or in the back
  • Severe heartburn, burning pain in your upper stomach, or coughing up blood
  • New or unusual pain in your thigh or hip
  • Jaw pain, numbness, or swelling
  • Severe joint, bone, or muscle pain
  • Low calcium levels
  • Muscle spasms or contractions
  • Numbness or tingly feeling (around your mouth, or in your fingers and toes)

Common Boniva side effects may include:

  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain, bone pain, muscle or joint pain
  • Pain in your arms or legs
  • Headache
  • Fever, chills, tiredness, flu-like symptoms

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Boniva side effects (in more detail)

Before Taking Boniva

You should not use Boniva if you are allergic to ibandronate, or if you have:

  • Severe kidney disease
  • Low blood levels of calcium (hypocalcemia)

Do not take a Boniva tablet if you have problems with your esophagus, or if you cannot sit upright or stand for at least 60 minutes. Ibandronate can cause serious problems in the stomach or esophagus. You must stay upright for at least 1 full hour after taking this medicine.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Problems with your stomach or digestion
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Dental problems (you may need a dental exam before you begin using Boniva)
  • Kidney disease
  • Any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption)

In rare cases, this medicine may cause bone loss (osteonecrosis) in the jaw. Symptoms include jaw pain or numbness, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, or slow healing after dental work. The longer you use Boniva, the more likely you are to develop this condition.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw may be more likely if you have cancer or received chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other risk factors include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre-existing dental problem.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

It is not known whether ibandronate will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether ibandronate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use Boniva?

Use Boniva exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Boniva tablets are taken once per month. The injection is given into a vein through an IV once every 3 months. The tablets can be taken at home, but a healthcare provider must give the injection.

Take the tablet first thing in the morning, at least 60 minutes before you eat or drink anything or take any other medicine. Take the medicine on the same day each month and always first thing in the morning.

Take the tablet with a full glass (6 to 8 ounces) of plain water. Do not use coffee, tea, soda, juice, or mineral water. Do not eat or drink anything other than plain water.

Do not crush, chew, or suck on a tablet. Swallow it whole.

For at least 60 minutes (1 full hour) after taking a tablet:

  • Do not lie down or recline.
  • Do not take any other medicine including vitamins, calcium, or antacids.

Pay special attention to your dental hygiene while using Boniva. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are using this medicine.

Boniva is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet changes, exercise, bone mineral density testing, and taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine. Ibandronate is often given for only 3 to 5 years.

Boniva Dosing Information

IV Injection: 3 mg by IV injection over 15 to 30 seconds every three months.


  • The IV injection should not be administered more frequently than once every 3 months.
  • Obtain serum creatinine prior to administration of each IV injection.
  • Perform a routine oral examination prior to administration of IV injection.

Uses: Treatment and prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis, to increase bone mineral density (BMD) and to reduce the incidence of vertebral fractures.

Usual Adult Dose for Prevention of Osteoporosis: 150 mg orally once a month on the same day each month.