Brand Name: Calcimar,
Drug Class: Hormone/bone
Available in: Injection,
Available OTC? No
As Generic? No
Serious: Skin rash
or hives. Call your doctor immediately.
loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, pain and redness
at injection site, flushing
or redness of face, ears, hands, or feet.
Less Common: Increased
output of urine, headache, dizziness, pressure in the chest,
breathing difficulty, stuffy nose, nasal bleeding or crusting,
tingling of hands or
feet, weakness, back pain, joint pain, chills.
To treat Pagets disease, a disorder in which
bone tissue is broken down and restored too rapidly, resulting
in bone fragility and in some cases malformation; to prevent
bone loss in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis; to treat
abnormally high blood calcium levels; to treat osteoporosis resulting
from hormonal disturbances, drug therapy, and immobilization;
to relieve compression of nerves that may occur with Pagets
disease of bone.
How the Drug Works
Calcitonin blocks the bone-mineral-absorbing activity
of the osteoclasts (bone cells), increases calcium excretion
by the kidneys, and slows bone resorption (the speed at which
bone is broken down before it is replaced).
Injection For Pagets disease: 100 international
units (IU) injected under the skin once a day to start. The dosage
may be reduced depending on results. To prevent postmenopausal
bone loss: 100 IU injected into muscle or under the skin once
a day, once every other day, or 3 times a week. For excessive
blood calcium: 1.8 IU per lb of body weight injected every 12
hours to start. Dose may be increased or decreased by your doctor.
Nasal spray 200 IU (1 spray) a day delivered in alternating
nostrils, 1 spray a day.
Onset of Effect
Within 15 minutes.
Duration of Action
8 to 24 hours.
If you are using this drug to lower blood calcium,
your doctor may want you to follow a low-calcium diet. An injection
is best administered at bedtime.
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat
and direct light.
If You Miss a Dose
If you take 2 doses a day: Take the missed dose
if you remember within 2 hours. If not, skip the missed dose
and resume your regular dosage schedule. If you take 1 dose a
day: Take the missed dose if you remember it the same day, then
resume your regular dosage schedule. If you remember the next
day, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule.
If you take one dose every other day: Take the missed dose if
you remember the same day. Otherwise, take the dose the next
day, skip a day and resume your regular dosage schedule. If you
take 1 dose 3 times a week: Take the missed dose the next day,
set each dose back a day for the rest of the week, then resume
your regular dosage schedule. In no cases should you double the
Stopping the Drug
The decision to stop taking the drug should be
made by your doctor.
Development of antibodies to the medicine may diminish
its effectiveness with prolonged use.
Over 60: Fluid balance
should be monitored if the drug is given to reduce blood levels
Driving and Hazardous Work: The
use of calcitonin should not impair your ability to perform such
Alcohol: Avoid alcohol.
Pregnancy: In animal
studies, large doses of calcitonin reduced birth weight. Before
you take calcitonin, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or
plan to become pregnant.
Breast Feeding: Calcitonin
may pass into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor
for specific advice.
Infants and Children: Studies
of calcitonin use in infants and children have not been done.
Consult your doctor for specific advice.
Special Concerns: You
should not take calcitonin if you have a recently healed bone
Symptoms: No specific
ones have been reported.
What to Do: An overdose
of calcitonin is unlikely to be life-threatening. However, if
someone takes a much larger dose than prescribed, call your doctor,
emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control
There are no known drug interactions.
No known food interactions.
Caution is advised when taking calcitonin. Consult
your doctor for specific advice if you have a kidney problem
or a history of allergies.
From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You
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