Boniva vs. Fosamax vs. Actonel: Which is Better?

There are currently three main drugs used to treat osteoperosis: Boniva, Fosamax, and Actonel. All three drugs treat the disease in generally the same way, but do have slight differences that you may want to bring up when talking to your doctor. Lets take a look at a few of these differences and find out which drug best suites you.

The first drug on the market was Fosamax, follow by Actonel a few years later, then Boniva. Fosamax and Actonel are both taken weekly, while Boniva is taken monthly orally, and every three months intravenously. If taking medication is hard for you to remember or a hassle for you to keep up with, Boniva would be a good option.

Another thing to keep in mind is that after taking any of the medications, you must be on your feet for a period of time. Both Fosamax and Actonel, you must be standing for 30 minutes, where as Boniva requires you to be standing up for an hour. If you have a hard time staying on your feet for an extended period of time, you may want to consider Fosamax or Actonel.

All three drugs have FDA approval for the treatment and prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Actonel has approval to reduce fractures at vertebral and nonvertebral sites (hip, wrist, pelvis, clavicle, leg, humorous), Fosamax at vertebral and hip, while Boniva has approval for the spine only.

Since there has been no clinical studies directly comparing all of the drugs, it is hard to say which one is statistically the best. All have been proven affective at treating osteoperosis, so I would talk it over with your doctor and weigh out the benefits of each before making a decision.

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Comments (11)

I am a young, vibrant 70 yrs young woman with bone loss.
..called Osteopenia. My doctor suggested Boniva. I have trouble swollowing large pills. Have any studies proved dangerous side effects of these drugs long term? I was advised to take Boniva 4 months ago and I also take prednisone 3 times a year for asthma control. I broke both my wrists 22 yrs ago and they are weakening now. I also broke my ankle and have a rod w/6 screws holding it in place. Can you give me advice? t.u.

almost worthless article. The Actonel package insert says sitting, not standing. I believe Actonel has a lower incidence of jaw bone necrosis.

The above is incorrect, in that neither drug requires the consumer to stand. You just can’t lie down. You have to sit or stand for the half-hour or hour.

Hi, I took Fosamax and had a side effect (muscle weakness) so I stopped. I would like to know which medication to try next that would’nt have that same reaction? Boniva or Actonel? Thanks

I have taken fosamax for several years (Over 15 yrs.)-had the bone dens. test and it always shows a small about of lost in the density every 2 years. Now the Dr. has switched me to Actonel (one every month) How long is too long for taking these medications? Is there a point that these meds do not work any longer?

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I took fosomax for years with no problem I was switched to Bonova and have notice pain when I set, plus restless at night

I’m 63 and 20 years post-menopausal (natural) with OsteoPENIA. I have been on Boniva for about 4 years and took with twice the amount of water to prevent heartburn. I was showing new bone growth on yearly scans after 2 years. Boniva was well tolerated but my drug insurance said I had to try Fosomax which I also took with LOTS of water. It gave me heartburn that lasted several days each time. Since I have a family history of esphogeal and stomach cancer that’s a real concern for me. My mom on- Fosomax 5 years- died after a low impact, short fall- resulting in broken hip (femoral neck) head was on top of femur). Pain killers made her a zombie–didn’t eat–to weak to do surgery-sent to rehab with broken hip-dressed her every day–pain-drugs for it-Zombie-wouldn’t eat and the cycle went on till she actually died of starvation. We also have a bad history of Heart Disease. What would you consider next if I were your mom. Also discuss pros & cons of IV types and results.

I’m a Pharmacy coordinator. I have to research constantly for Rx that fit our patients depending on their medical conditions and their financial status. I would like to have more access to sites where I can find the right meds and prices for our patients.

I was diagnosed with osteopenia 1 year ago. Started Fosamax a few months later and was on it for 3 months and then did the Reclast iv drip. Now, 4 months later I have three rib fractures just from a cough at night while in bed. Reclast doesn’t sound very effective to me!

I began taking Boniva about 16 months ago for osteopena. I have just been diagnosed with a stress fracture of the hip. My ortho doctor does not want me to take the medication because he says stress fractures are a side effect of the medication. I believe what he said was “bifosphate” can increase the possibility of such fractures. I am having major surgery which includes placement of a titanium rod in the marrow of my entire femur. What medication can I take that does not have this side effect? I would like to have the information when I see him again so we can discuss my options. Help please!

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