calcitonin

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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GENERIC NAME: calcitonin salmon

BRAND NAME: Miacalcin, Fortical (Calcimar brand no longer available)

DRUG CLASS: Calcitonin salmon is a man-made version of the hormone, calcitonin, that is found in salmon. Calcitonin is used for treating postmenopausal (after menopause) osteoporosis (bone loss), Paget's disease of bone, and hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels). In humans, calcitonin is produced by the thyroid gland. It acts primarily on bone, but the mechanism of its action is not well understood. Bone is in a constant state of remodeling, whereby old bone is broken-down by cells called osteoclasts, and new bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts. Calcitonin inhibits bone removal by osteoclasts, and promotes bone formation by osteoblasts.

After menopause, the rate of bone loss accelerates. In women with osteoporosis, calcitonin has been shown to increase bone density and strength.

Paget's disease is a bone disease characterized by a disorderly and accelerated remodeling of the bone, leading to bones that are weak and painful. Calcitonin reduces the turnover of bone and pain in patients with Paget's disease. The FDA approved calcitonin intranasal spray in March, 1991.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Injection: 200 units/ml. Intranasal spray: 200 units/activation (0.09 ml/puff)

STORAGE: Calcitonin should be stored in a refrigerator between 2-8 C (36-46 F). It should be protected from freezing. Bottles of intranasal spray that are being used may be stored at room temperature between 15 C-30 C (59 F-86 F) for 30 days.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Injectable calcitonin is used to treat osteoporosis and Paget's disease. Injectable calcitonin also is used to treat seriously elevated blood calcium levels. The nasal spray is used only for osteoporosis in women who are at least 5 years postmenopausal.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/8/2014

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