Fortical Side Effects Center

Last updated on RxList: 9/16/2022
Fortical Side Effects Center

What Is Fortical?

Fortical (calcitonin-salmon rDNA origin) Nasal Spray is a manmade form of a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland used to treat brittle bone disease (osteoporosis) in women who are at least 5 years past menopause.

What Are Side Effects of Fortical?

Common side effects of Fortical include:

  •  runny or stuffy nose
  • nosebleeds
  • nasal irritation or discomfort
  • dry nose with crusting/scabs/sores
  • nasal itching or tenderness
  • redness in or around the nose
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin) of the face, or
  • back pain

Seek medical care or call 911 at once if you have the following serious side effects:

  • Serious eye symptoms such as sudden vision loss, blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
  • Serious heart symptoms such as fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats; fluttering in your chest; shortness of breath; and sudden dizziness, lightheartedness, or passing out;
  • Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever, profuse sweating, or tremors.

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

Dosage for Fortical

The recommended dose of Fortical Nasal Spray in postmenopausal osteoporotic patients is 1 spray (200 International Units) per day administered intranasally, alternating nostrils daily.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Fortical?

Fortical may interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use.

Fortical During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

This medication is used mainly in women after menopause and is unlikely to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Consult your doctor if you have questions.

Additional Information

Our Fortical (calcitonin-salmon rDNA origin) Nasal Spray Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What is another medical term for osteoporosis? See Answer
Fortical Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; fast heartbeats; feeling lightheaded; chest pain, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • severe nasal irritation; or
  • low levels of calcium in your blood--numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes.

Common side effects may include:

  • bleeding from your nose;
  • runny or stuffy nose;
  • dryness, itching, tenderness, or general discomfort of your nose; or
  • crusting, scabs, or sores inside your nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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Fortical Professional Information


The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The safety of calcitonin-salmon nasal spray in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis was assessed in 5 randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials that enrolled postmenopausal women, aged 45-75 years. The duration of the trials ranged from 1 to 2 years. The incidence of adverse reactions reported in studies involving postmenopausal osteoporotic patients chronically exposed to calcitonin-salmon nasal spray (N=341) and to placebo nasal spray (N=131), and reported in greater than 3% of calcitonin-salmon treated patients are presented in the following table. Other than flushing, nausea, possible allergic reactions, and possible local irritative effects in the respiratory tract, a relationship to calcitonin-salmon nasal spray has not been established.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions Occurring in at Least 3% of Postmenopausal Patients Treated Chronically

Adverse Reaction Calcitonin-Salmon Nasal Spray
% of Patients
Placebo Nasal Spray
% of Patients
Rhinitis 12 7
Symptom of Nose† 11 16
Back Pain 5 2
Arthralgia 4 5
Epistaxis 4 5
Headache 3 5
†Symptom of nose includes: nasal crusts, dryness, redness or erythema, nasal sores, irritation, itching, thick feeling, soreness, pallor, infection, stenosis, runny/blocked, small wound, bleeding wound, tenderness, uncomfortable feeling and sore across bridge of nose.

Nasal Adverse Reactions: In all postmenopausal patients treated with calcitonin-salmon nasal spray, the most commonly reported nasal adverse reactions included rhinitis (12%), epistaxis (4%), and sinusitis (2%). Smoking did not have a contributory effect on the occurrence of nasal adverse reactions.

Adverse reactions reported in 1-3% of patients treated with calcitonin-salmon nasal spray include: influenza-like symptoms, erythematous rash, arthrosis, myalgia, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract infection, bronchospasm, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, paresthesia, abnormal lacrimation, conjunctivitis, lymphadenopathy, infection, and depression.


A meta-analysis of 21 randomized, controlled clinical trials with calcitonin-salmon (nasal spray or investigational oral formulations) was conducted to assess the risk of malignancies in calcitonin-salmon-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients. The trials in the metaanalysis ranged in duration from 6 months to 5 years and included a total of 10883 patients (6151 treated with calcitonin-salmon and 4732 treated with placebo). The overall incidence of malignancies reported in these 21 trials was higher among calcitonin-salmon-treated patients (254/6151 or 4.1%) compared with placebo-treated patients (137/4732 or 2.9%). Findings were similar when analyses were restricted to the 18 nasal spray only trials [calcitonin-salmon 122/2712 (4.5%); placebo 30/1309 (2.3%)].

The meta-analysis results suggest an increased risk of overall malignancies in calcitonin-salmontreated patients compared to placebo-treated patients when all 21 trials are included and when the analysis is restricted to the 18 nasal spray only trials (see Table 2). It is not possible to exclude an increased risk when calcitonin-salmon is administered by the subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intravenous route because these routes of administration were not investigated in the meta analysis. The increased malignancy risk seen with the meta-analysis was heavily influenced by a single large 5-year trial, which had an observed risk difference of 3.4% [95% CI (0.4%, 6.5%)]. Imbalances in risks were still observed when analyses excluded basal cell carcinoma (see Table 2); the data were not sufficient for further analyses by type of malignancy. A mechanism for these observations has not been identified. Although a definitive causal relationship between calcitonin-salmon use and malignancies cannot be established from this meta-analysis, the benefits for the individual patient should be carefully evaluated against all possible risks [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Table 2: Risk Difference for Malignancies in Calcitonin-Salmon-Treated Patients Compared with Placebo-Treated Patients

Patients Malignancies Risk Difference1 (%) 95% Confidence Interval2 (%)
All (nasal spray + oral) All 1.0 (0.3, 1.6)
All (nasal spray + oral) Excluding basal cell carcinoma 0.5 (-0.1, 1.2)
All (nasal spray only) All 1.4 (0.3, 2.6)
All (nasal spray only) Excluding basal cell carcinoma 0.8 (-0.2, 1.8)
1The overall adjusted risk difference is the difference between the percentage of patients who had any malignancy (or malignancy excluding basal cell carcinoma) in calcitonin-salmon and placebo treatment groups, using the Mantel-Haenszel (MH) fixed-effect method. A risk difference of 0 is suggestive of no difference in malignancy risks between the treatment groups.
2 The corresponding 95% confidence interval for the overall adjusted risk difference also based on MH fixed-effect method.

Postmarketing Experience

Because postmarketing adverse reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

The following adverse reactions have been reported during post-approval use of calcitoninsalmon nasal spray.

Allergic / Hypersensitivity Reactions: Serious allergic reactions have been reported in patients receiving calcitonin-salmon nasal spray, including anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock.

Hypocalcemia: Hypocalcemia with paresthesia has been reported.

Body as a whole: facial or peripheral edema

Cardiovascular: hypertension, vasodilatation, syncope, chest pain

Nervous system: dizziness, seizure, visual or hearing impairment, tinnitus

Respiratory/ Special Senses: cough, bronchospasm, dyspnea, loss of taste/smell

Skin: rash/dermatitis, pruritus, alopecia, increased sweating

Gastrointestinal: diarrhea

Nervous system disorders: tremor


Consistent with the potentially immunogenic properties of medicinal products containing peptides, administration of Fortical may trigger the development of anti-calcitonin antibodies. In a two-year calcitonin-salmon nasal spray clinical study that evaluated immunogenicity, a measurable antibody titer was found in 69% of patients treated with calcitonin-salmon and 3% of placebo-treated patients. Antibody formation may be associated with a loss of response to treatment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

The incidence of antibody formation is highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of a positive antibody test result may be influenced by several factors, including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of antibodies to calcitonin-salmon nasal spray with the incidence of antibodies to other calcitonin-containing products may be misleading.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Fortical (Calcitonin-Salmon (rDNA origin))

© Fortical Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Fortical Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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