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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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/8/2014

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