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Information about Bonviva

What is it and what is it used for?

Bonviva is a medicine that contains the active substance ibandronic acid. It is available as tablets (150 mg) and as a solution for injection in a prefilled syringe (3 mg).

Bonviva is used to treat osteoporosis (a disease that makes bones fragile) in women who have been through the menopause and are at risk of developing bone fractures (breaks). Its effect in reducing the risk of spine fractures has been shown in studies, but its effect on the risk of fractures of the neck of the femur (the top of the thighbone) has not been established.

The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.

How Bonviva is used
Bonviva can be given either as a tablet or as an injection into a vein. If the tablet is used, the dose is one tablet every month, preferably on the same date each month. The tablet should be taken after an overnight fast, one hour before any food or drink except for water, and with a full glass of plain water. (In areas with hard water, where tap water contains a lot of dissolved calcium, bottled water with a low mineral content may be used.) The patient should not lie down for one hour after taking the tablet. The dose by injection is 3 mg once every three months. Patients taking Bonviva should also take vitamin D and calcium supplements if they do not get enough from their diet.

How Bonviva works
Osteoporosis happens when not enough new bone grows to replace the bone that is naturally broken down. Gradually, the bones become thin and fragile, and more likely to break. Osteoporosis is more common in women after the menopause, when the levels of the female hormone oestrogen fall, since oestrogen helps to keep bones healthy.

The active substance in Bonviva, ibandronic acid, is a bisphosphonate. It stops the action of the osteoclasts, the cells that are involved in breaking down the bone tissue. Blocking the action of these cells leads to less bone loss.

What are the benefits?

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) decided that Bonviva’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be given marketing authorisation.

What are main side effects?

The most common side effects with Bonviva (seen in between 1 and 10 patients in 100) are arthralgia (joint pain) and influenza (flu)-like symptoms. The most serious side effects with Bonviva are anaphylactic reaction (severe allergic reaction), atypical fractures of the femur (an unusual type of fracture of the bone of the upper leg), osteonecrosis of the jaw (damage to the bones of the jaw, which could lead to pain, sores in the mouth or loosening of teeth), gastrointestinal (stomach and gut) irritation and eye inflammation. For the full list of all side effects reported with Bonviva, see the package leaflet.

Bonviva must not be used in patients who have hypocalcaemia (low blood calcium levels). The tablets must not be used in patients who have abnormalities of the oesophagus or who cannot stand or sit upright for at least an hour. For the full list of restrictions with Bonviva, see the package leaflet.

What studies have been done?

In the first study, daily treatment with Bonviva 2.5-mg tablets reduced the risk of new spine fractures by 62% in comparison with placebo. The other two studies showed that the 150-mg monthly tablets and the injections were more effective than the 2.5-mg once-daily tablets at increasing bone density in the spine and the hip. Over two years, bone density in the spine increased by 7% with the monthly tablets and by 6% with the injections, compared with 5% with the daily tablets. In the hip, bone density increased by 4% with the monthly tablets and by 3% with the injections, compared with 2% with the daily tablets.


Bonviva was first approved for use in the EU in 2004. It is manufactured by Atnahs Pharma.

European Medicines Agency website page for Bonviva (accessed 17/07/18)

Links available in External Resources

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions (side effects) after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals or patients are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Disclaimer: This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only. The health information furnished on this site and the interactive responses are not intended to be professional advice and are not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. We cannot provide individual medical advice. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.

For the full list of side effects and restrictions, see the package leaflet (link to package leaflet available in External Resources).