Calcitonin is a synthetic hormone for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who are at least five years beyond menopause when other medicines are not suitable. The naturally occurring hormone is involved in calcium regulation and bone metabolism.
Calcitonin slows bone breakdown and increases bone density in the spine. It reduces the risk of spine fractures, but has not been shown to decrease the risk of non-spine or hip fractures.
Calcitonin is available as a nasal spray (200 IU daily) or an injection of 100 IU daily administered as a subcutaneous or intramuscular injection.
Common side effects with nasal calcitonin are a runny nose, headache, back pain and nosebleed (epistaxis). Injectable calcitonin may cause an allergic reaction and unpleasant side effects including flushing of the face and hands, urinary frequency, nausea and a skin rash.
Due to the possible connection between cancer and the use of calcitonin, the use of this medicine should be reviewed from time to time with your healthcare provider.