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Allergic Reactions

Because calcitonin is a polypeptide, the possibility of a systemic allergic reaction exists. A few cases of serious allergic-type reactions have been reported in patients receiving calcitonin-salmon nasal spray, including cases of anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock. With injectable calcitonin-salmon there have been a few reports of serious allergic-type reactions (e.g. bronchospasm, swelling of the tongue or throat, anaphylactic shock), including very rare reports of death attributed to anaphylaxis. The usual provisions should be made for emergency treatment if such a reaction should occur. Allergic reactions should be differentiated from generalized flushing and hypotension.

For patients with suspected sensitivity to calcitonin, skin testing should be considered prior to treatment utilizing a dilute, sterile solution of a calcitonin-salmon injectable product. Physicians may wish to refer patients who require skin testing to an allergist. A detailed skin testing protocol is available from Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. by calling toll-free at 1-800-6542299.


Periodic Nasal Examinations

Periodic nasal examinations with visualization of the nasal mucosa, turbinates, septum and mucosal blood vessel status are recommended.

The development of mucosal alterations or transient nasal conditions have been reported in up to 9% of patients who received a calcitonin-salmon nasal spray and in up to 12% of patients who received placebo nasal spray in studies in postmenopausal women. The majority of patients (approximately 90%) in whom nasal abnormalities were noted also reported nasally related complaints/symptoms as adverse events. Therefore, a nasal examination should be performed prior to start of treatment with nasal calcitonin and at any time nasal complaints occur.

In all postmenopausal patients treated with a calcitonin-salmon nasal spray, the most commonly reported nasal adverse events included rhinitis (12%), epistaxis (3.5%), and sinusitis (2.3%). Smoking was shown not to have any contributory effect on the occurrence of nasal adverse events. One patient (0.3%) treated with a calcitonin-salmon nasal spray who was receiving 400 International Units daily developed a small nasal wound. In clinical trials in another disorder (Paget's disease), 2.8% of patients developed nasal ulcerations.

If severe ulceration of the nasal mucosa occurs, as indicated by ulcers greater than 1.5 mm in diameter or penetrating below the mucosa, or those associated with heavy bleeding, calcitonin-salmon nasal spray should be discontinued. Although smaller ulcers often heal without withdrawal of calcitonin-salmon nasal spray, medication should be discontinued temporarily until healing occurs.

Carcinogenicity, Mutagenicity, Impairment of Fertility

An increased incidence of non-functioning pituitary adenomas has been observed in 1-year toxicity studies in Sprague-Dawley and Fischer 344 Rats administered (subcutaneously) calcitonin-salmon at dosages of 80 International Units per kilogram per day (16-19 times the recommended human parenteral dose and about 130-160 times the human intranasal dose based on body surface area).

The findings suggest that calcitonin-salmon reduced the latency period for development of the pituitary adenomas that do not produce hormones, probably through the perturbation of physiologic processes involved in the evolution of this commonly occurring endocrine lesion in the rat. Although administration of calcitonin-salmon reduces the latency period of the development of nonfunctional proliferative lesions in rats, it did not induce the hyperplastic/neoplastic process.

Calcitonin-salmon was tested for mutagenicity using four strains of Salmonella typhimurium and two strains of Escherichia coli, with and without rat liver metabolic activation, and found to be non-mutagenic. The drug was also not mutagenic in a chromosome aberration test in Chinese Hamster ovary cells in vitro .

Laboratory Tests

Urine sediment abnormalities have not been reported in ambulatory volunteers treated with calcitonin-salmon nasal spray. Coarse granular casts containing renal tubular epithelial cells were reported in young adult volunteers at bed rest who were given injectable calcitonin-salmon to study the effect of immobilization on osteoporosis. There was no evidence of renal abnormality and the urine sediment became normal after calcitonin was stopped. Periodic examinations of urine sediment should be considered.


Teratogenic Effects - Category C

Calcitonin-salmon has been shown to cause a decrease in fetal birth weights in rabbits when given by injection in doses 8-33 times the parenteral dose and 70-278 times the intranasal dose recommended for human use based on body surface area.

Since calcitonin does not cross the placental barrier, this finding may be due to metabolic effects on the pregnant animal. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women with calcitonin-salmon. FORTICAL® calcitonin-salmon (rDNA origin) Nasal Spray is not indicated for use in pregnancy.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. As a general rule, nursing should not be undertaken while a patient is on this drug since many drugs are excreted in human milk. Calcitonin has been shown to inhibit lactation in animals.

Pediatric Use

There are no data to support the use of FORTICAL® calcitonin-salmon (rDNA origin) Nasal Spray in children. Disorders of bone in children referred to as idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis have been reported rarely. The relationship of these disorders to postmenopausal osteoporosis has not been established and experience with the use of calcitonin in these disorders is limited.

Geriatric Use

In a large multi-centered, double-blind, randomized clinical study of calcitonin-salmon nasal spray, 279 patients were less than 65 years old, while 467 patients were 65 to 74 years old and 196 patients were 75 and over. Compared to subjects less than 65 years old, the incidence of nasal adverse events (rhinitis, irritation, erythema, and excoriation) was higher in patients over the age of 65, particularly those over the age of 75. Most events were mild in intensity. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

Last reviewed on RxList: 8/26/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.


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