Understanding Osteoporosis Medications (cont.)
Calcitonins (Miacalcin Nasal Spray) are useful for treating bone pain after a fracture due to osteoporosis. Newer drugs are typically used for osteoporosis treatment.
- How calcitonins work: These hormones respond to elevated calcium levels in the blood by increasing calcium stores in bone and elimination of calcium by the kidneys. These are typically used for only a short time (several weeks to months). Calcium and vitamin D supplements are vital to ensure calcitonin efficacy. The drug may be genetically engineered from human calcitonin or derived from salmon.
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals with allergy to salmon calcitonin should not use it.
- Use: Calcitonins may be administered by injection given every other day or daily. They can also be taken as a nasal spray each day.
- Drug or food interactions: These hormones may decrease lithium blood concentrations.
- Side effects: Resistance to salmon calcitonin may occur. Calcitonins may cause nausea, vomiting, altered blood sugar levels, increased urinary frequency, runny nose (with nasal spray), and flushing of hands or face. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:
- Chest tightness
- Trouble breathing
- Itching or hives
- Swelling of face or hands
- Tingling in mouth or throat
- Heavy or ongoing nose bleeds (with nasal spray)
- Lightheadedness or fainting
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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