Calcitonin

Brand names of calcitonin

  • Calcimar
  • Caltine
  • Cibacalcin
  • Miacalcin Injection
  • Miacalcin Nasal Spray

Calcitonin-salmon is a synthetically developed version of the calcitonin hormone naturally occurring in salmon. This synthetically made hormone is used to treat menopausal osteoporosis (bone loss in women after menopause), hypercalcemia (high intensity of calcium in blood) and Paget's disease (a metabolic bone syndrome that entails destruction and re-growth of bone resulting in deformity). Calcitonin is also produced by the thyroid gland of the humans. It basically works on bone, but the mechanism of its working is still not understood well.

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It may be mentioned that our bones are in a continuous state of destruction and re-growth. In other words, they are being remodeled all the time, whereby the old bone is removed by cells known as osteoclasts, while new bone is formed by cells known as osteoblasts. Calcitonin works by slowing down the process of bone removal by osteoclasts and encouraging the formation of new bone by osteoblasts.

Following menopause, women experience a faster pace of bone loss. It has been seen that the use of calcitonin by women suffering from osteoporosis actually enhances the strength as well as density of bone.

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Paget's disease, on the other hand, can be described as an ailment of the bone that is marked by uncontrollable and accelerated re-modeling of the bone that results in the bones becoming frail and aching. Use of calcitonin by people suffering from Paget's disease helps to lessen the accelerated re-modeling of bone as well as provides relief from the excruciating pain endured by the patients. In March 1991 calcitonin intranasal spray was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking calcitonin

As in the case of any other drug, calcitonin also needs to be used cautiously. Before you start taking calcitonin, it is essential for you to tell your physician if you have any allergic reaction owing to use of this or any other medication. Prior to beginning the therapy with calcitonin salmon, your doctor may undertake a skin test with a view to ascertain that you do not have any allergic reaction to the medication.

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In addition, before you begin treatment with calcitonin salmon, you should tell your physician in detail regarding all the prescription, non-prescription (over-the-counter) and herbal medications used by you. You ought to also tell your doctor about the nutritional supplements and vitamins being taken by you.

Women planning to use calcitonin salmon to treat their condition should tell their doctor if they are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or are breast feeding before they start taking the medication. Women who become pregnant while taking calcitonin should call their doctor right away for medical help.

Usage

Calcitonin is used to treat a number of health conditions - all related to the bone. This medication is used to treat the symptoms of Paget's disease, a malady wherein the bone tissue is disintegrated and reinstated very rapidly causing fragility of bone and, in a number of instances, even bone deformity. Calcitonin salmon is also used to treat exceptionally high levels of calcium in the blood - a condition known as hypercalcemia. In addition, calcitonin salmon is indicated for treating osteoporosis in women who have passed the menopausal stage and have a poor bone density.

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Calcitonin is also available in injection form and it is administered to cure osteoporosis as well as Paget's disease. Injectable calcitonin salmon is also prescribed for patients suffering from hypercalcemia (high intensity of calcium in blood). In addition, calcitonin is also available as a nasal spray, which is solely used to treat osteoporosis in women who have passed their menopause at least five years back.

How to use calcitonin

The man-made hormone calcitonin can be taken in various ways - as a nasal spray, as an injection into the muscle (intramuscular) or even as an injection into the fat tissues (subcutaneous).

Calcitonin is available in a solution form that is injected just below the skin (subcutaneously) or into the muscle (intramuscularly.) Generally, calcitonin injections are administered once daily or on alternate days. Before you start taking the calcitonin shots, you ought to read the prescription label thoroughly and may also seek help from your pharmacist or doctor in case if you find it difficult to understand what is precisely mentioned in the label. It is important to use the calcitonin injections strictly as directed. It is advisable not to use the injection in more or less quantity or more frequently than what has been prescribed by your doctor.

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Initially, your doctor or pharmacist will demonstrate to you regarding the manner in which the medication should be administered. It is important to follow their instructions cautiously. Soon after the medication has been injected, discard all empty syringes and vials according to the directions of your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Prior to preparing a dose of calcitonin, examine the vial carefully. Do not use the medication In case you find the solution to be discolored or containing particles and call your pharmacist right away.

As aforementioned, calcitonin facilitates the treatment of osteoporosis as well as Paget's disease; however, it is important to note that this medication does not cure these health conditions. It is important to continue using this medication even after you begin to feel better and complete the full course prescribed for you. If you want to discontinue using calcitonin salmon, you should do it only after consulting your physician.

Besides being available as an injection, calcitonin also comes in the form of a nasal spray. The nasal spray is generally used only once every day and in the alternating nostrils every day. In order to help you remember the use of calcitonin salmon nasal spray, make it sure that you use the medication at the same time daily. Before you start using the calcitonin nasal spray, it is important for you to go through the prescription label thoroughly and in case you are unable to understand certain portions of the prescription label ask your doctor to explain it to you. It is also important to use calcitonin salmon strictly as directed by your physician. Never use more or less of the medication or use it too frequently than the dosage what your physician has prescribed for you.

As mentioned earlier, calcitonin is effective for treating osteoporosis, but it does not cure the health condition. Even if you start feeling better or find your condition improving, continue using the medication and complete the full course prescribed for you. It is advisable not to discontinue taking calcitonin without discussing the matter with your physician.

Prior to using calcitonin salmon nasal spray for the first time, you should carefully read the printed instructions that come with the medication. In addition, ask your physician, nurse or pharmacist to show you how to use the calcitonin salmon nasal spray. Also practice using the nasal spray while he or she is watching you do so. The process of using the nasal spray involves putting the pump and bottle, containing the calcitonin salmon nasal spray, together; removing the rubber stopper from the bottle; and subsequently removing the plastic protective cap from the base of the spray unit. Then place the spray pump into the bottle and turn it to make tighter. Subsequently, take off the plastic cover of the top of the spray unit. Now, the spray unit is ready for use.

How calcitonin works

Calcitonin salmon works by blocking the activities of the bone cells called osteoclasts which absorb the minerals from bone and by enhancing the excretion of calcium through the kidneys. In addition, calcitonin also inhibits re-sorption of bone - a process where the pace at which bone is broken down prior to its replacement.

Side effects

Serious
  • skin rash or hives
  • swelling of tongue
  • difficulty breathing
Common
Less common

Possible interactions

The synthetically developed hormone calcitonin salmon is known to interact with a number of minerals and herbal products and, hence, it is advisable that they should not be used concurrently.

Although soy and other phytoestrogens obtained from plants are likely to harmonize the use of calcitonin, scientists have not studied this subject. Currently, scientists are studying a synthetic flavonoid called ipriflavone for treating osteoporosis - a medical condition that not only slows down bone resorption by means of lessening production of osteoclast, but also promotes the function of osteoblast. However, the scientists are yet to study the concurrent use of calcitonin and ipriflavone.

In addition, sufficient elemental vitamin D and calcium are also required. It is advisable that people taking calcitonin also take calcium supplements. In effect, bubbling or effervescent calcium which is formed in a solution is likely to be absorbed faster compared to any other form of calcium and can facilitate preventing osteoporosis.

People taking calcitonin salmon in any form ought to exert themselves physically strictly according to the recommendations of their physician. Always bear in mind that exercises that involve bearing weights facilitates in combating osteoporosis, as it invigorates the receptors called mechanoreceptors to discharge factors that help in normal and healthy arrangement of bone. However, even this should be done only on the advice of the patient's physician.

Discontinuation

It is advisable that patients who are taking calcitonin salmon should essentially discontinue this medication following consultation with their physician.

Storage instructions

Calcitonin injection should always be stored in the container it comes with in the refrigerator. However, never freeze this drug or shake the vials. Before administering the injection, it needs to be given time to warm up to the room temperature. It is advisable not to use calcitonin salmon injection if it has been kept outside the refrigerator for over 24 hours. Always keep all supplies of calcitonin injections in a hygienic and dry place. Also remember that calcitonin salmon as well as all other medications should always be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

The unused part of the medication ought to be discarded after four weeks. Always remember that unless instructed otherwise, you should never flush the medicine down the toilet or pour them into a drain. When the expiry date of the medication has lapsed or it is no longer needed, always dispose of it in a proper manner. For further details regarding the safe disposal of the medication you may talk to your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company.

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