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By the way, doctor: Will Boniva make my bones weaker?

February 01, 2008

Q. I am taking Boniva for osteoporosis. Recently, I read information from an alleged women's health expert who said that osteoporosis drugs like the one I'm taking actually make bones weaker by stopping the body from breaking down old bone, and causing disease of the jaw. Is that true?

A. What the "expert" said is misleading and largely untrue. Boniva (ibandronate) is a bisphosphonate drug, like alendronate. It's true that a rare side effect of bisphosphonates is damage to the jawbone, but this has been seen mainly in patients with cancer who have been given high doses intravenously, not in people like you who are taking a bisphosphonate orally for osteoporosis.

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