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Old Ladies and Boniva

[HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: I have just discovered that hundreds emails going back to August never made it to my computer from the host server. Among the plethora of spam, I am discovering many kind notes, requests, questions, etc. from blog friends and others who must be wondering why I have ignored you. Big time apologies to every one of you. I am slowly wading through it all now and will respond as quickly as I can.]

Crabby Old Lady has had enough of hearing about the joys of a monthly Boniva pill and whoever produces their television commercials.

First, a year or so ago, Boniva showed us a gaggle of early morning walkers who behaved as though the one who discovered Boniva had found the Holy Grail. In the next episode, a bunch of ladies who lunch nearly had orgasms over it. And now actor Sally Field is, apparently, as excited about a once-a-month dosage of Boniva as if she’d won the MegaMillions lottery.

What kind of idiots, Crabby wants to know, do these folks think old ladies are?

This kind of excitement over the frequency of a dosage is embarrassing and most of all makes no sense. It’s much harder to remember to do something every 30 days than daily. Even once a week is reasonable to remember, but every 30 days is hard - and Crabby has never seen a pill dispenser with 30 daily compartments.

Every time Sally Field shows up with that terrible grimace on her face, Crabby Old Lady cringes, and she's not even talking about the questionable ethics of advertising prescription drugs directly to consumers. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars a year targeting consumers who have no training or expertise in choosing drugs and, Crabby asks you, what does all that useless advertising do the retail price we pay.

But as regards Boniva commercials specifically, please – someone - give Ms. Field a movie to do so she doesn’t need to embarrass herself in a dumb and insulting television commercial.


Thank you. That commercial's been bugging me too. If anything, I appreciate the pillcase with the days of the week on it so I know what day it is.

Its one saving grace as a prescription drug touted to the consumer directly is that it tells you what it's for. The others would have you going to a doctor with a list of "ask your doctor about..." that includes everything from erectile dysfunction to hair loss.

Glad you mentioned the ethical problems with direct-to-consumer drug ads. We're one of only 2 countries in the WORLD that allow it, and the other one - New Zealand - is close to banning it. Susan

Uh...what is the B stuff? Can't say that I've seen an ad for it; but, then, I don't see many ads of any sort. (See what a deprived life I lead?)

The one I find most insulting discusses how difficult life was for one friend who had to remember to take her other medicine once a week. Oh, the tribulation! Now that she gets to take Boniva only once a month, her life has been transformed!

What is this stuff? I don't watch regular TV much and have yet to see the ad? Some kind of mood pill?

Boniva is a treatment for osteoporosis. Sorry, I should have mentioned that.

Well, my mom was thrilled to take a pill just once a month. Until she found out the dosage aggrevated her stomach WAY beyond comfort. She's back to her daily dosage of calcium.

How much does Boniva cost? Once a week Fosamax, which costs, without insurance, $83 a prescription refill, is now under scrutiny for causing jaw degeneration (or something like that). Can't you just take 1600 mg of calcium a day and do weight-bearing exercises three times a week (which would be much cheaper and probably more beneficial)? Being lazy can get expensive.

No, unfortunately you can't just take calcium and do weight-bearing exercises. It is not enough for some of us. A bone density test will tell you if you also need prescription medicine.

That is unfortunate. It means that many in our age group, who can't afford it, are screwed. But, what else is new?

In 2005, Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her diagnosis led her to create the "Rally With Sally For Bone Health" campaign with support from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline that co-promote Boniva, a treatment for osteoporosis.

Haven't seen the commercial but have seen her on Brothers and Sisters (a new sitcom) recently.

Last year I was working as an analyst for the State of Alaska, researching and writing analyses for state legislators. One of the subjects I researched was to the public advertising of prescription medication. State after state has tried to pass a resolution to request Congress to make it illegal, and then the pharmaceutical lobby buys off enough local legislators to kill the resolution. The AMA is against it. The European Union did an in depth study of it and recommended that it not be allowed there.

And then, the suggestion that old women are too stupid to remember to take a pill once a week is a prize, isn't it? We can't mark it on our calendars? Put it in our dispensers?

Please do not think I am not as aggravated as the rest with the ads because I am. However, I find taking Boniva once a month, a godsend. I was taking Fozamx and found I either forgot to take it before my morning coffee and then had to wait a day or found it irritating to have to wait for a half hour after taking it to have my morning coffee. Now I know that sounds like a lot of whining, but delaying my coffee one morning a month is so much nicer!

I, too, share anger that pharmaceutical companies are permitted to advertise their prescription drug products to the public at all, much less in the manner in which they do.

Not everyone's experience with the reliability of bone density tests or osteoporosis medications is positive. They are likely accurate and beneficial for some, but not all, as was my personal experience.

Have not seen the B. ads, heard of the product, much less seen S.F. in the commercial, but would prefer no celebrities ever did any drug ads whatever their personal story. When I see a celebrity in an ad the product becomes suspect to me, no matter the dialogue or personage.

Even after taking Actonel (same as Fosamax) for several years I still forgot last week that it was the day of the week that I take it and drank coffee before remembering. The decision of whether to wait until the next day or taking it a half-hour later became a major problem. I would never remember to take it once a month, pill caddy or not. I am not only disgusted with the Sally Field ad but with the millions spent by the pharmacuetical industry on ads that say, "Ask your doctor." What they really mean is "ask for this from your doctor." It's unconscionable for the drug companies to spend this kind of money when so many can't even afford their medication.

How can a person actually "DISSRUPT" their
blazing fast schedule to take ONE pill a week.???? I feel sorry for people who have to live with that burden..???

WORSTPILLS.org is a lifesaver! Independent studies done on all drugs. Using celebs is just another way to market drugs. The reason given about not having the time to take the pills or sit up for 1/2 hr. is ludicrous. The real truth is the future/unknown side effects. Building bone is through exercise ONLY. Please! Research & decide. Ibandronate (Boniva) is the 1st bisphosphonate approved for use in osteoporosis as an IV formulation given once every 3 months...IV ibandronate has been shown to be about as effective as oral ibandronate in increasing bone mineral density, but has not been shown to decrease fractures compared to placebo, and neither IV nor oral ibandronate has been shown to decrease nonvertebral fractures. *Consider not only the spine, but pelvis, hip bones, wrists, etc.

Well, it's 2009 and Sally Field is playing with her grandkids telling us how wonderful life is on Boniva! Just as annoying as the old commercials... Here's an article I love from Better Bones about fosamax and other bisphosphonates. "Informed decisions about treatment for osteoporosis and osteopenia"

I am so glad I got to read the comments of others.My husband also was taking Boniva but had to stop because of the high cost, it got us into the doghnut hole by mid summer and had to pay full cost for his meds. I also contacted the drug company and complained about their costly ads with Sally Fields and passing on the cost to the consumer. No doubt she is making mill's. Their reply was they had to recover their expenses for years of research.
One caution with bisphosphonates drugs, if taken for more than 7 years they actually will weaken the bones and femor breakage is very common.
A good friend had this happen, the bones just snapped, she than was told by a specialist that she had been on Fosomax to long. She is now disabled for the rest of her life.

I did drink a cup of coffee before taking my Boniva. Is it safer to wait a day before taking it?

Why CANT you take a Boniva pill with your coffee on a empty stomach?

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