Enteric Coated Atelvia
The biggest problem with oral Bisphosphonates is GI upset, especially Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD). Another problem is that you must take them on an empty stomach – then eat nothing for 30 to 60 minutes. Atelvia attempts to evade those issues with enteric coating. Atelvia is Risedronate (Actonel) which does not disolve until in the small intestines. It can be taken with food. This is definitely more convenient.
Published studies show Atelvia to be as effective in decreasing fracture rates as daily Actonel (the orginal dosing of Risedronate). That is good.
The enteric coating should make GERD much less common than with regular Actonel. Surprisingly, there are no published studies to back up that obvious supposition. Nor are there any studies about other GI problems common with regular bisphosphonates. Fortunately, we do have some samples for patients to try in order to determine if they have any GI problems with Atelvia, before getting a paid-for prescription.
Atelvia is still new enough on the market that we have no long term experience. It may acquire the niche market for an oral Bisphosphonate without GERD.
Having an additional osteoporosis medication option is good.
Jay Ginther, MD