Worst Pills
calcitonin [calcitonin-salmon] (FORTICAL, MIACALCIN)

Drug and Dietary Supplement Profiles

A comprehensive review of the safety and effectiveness of this drug. If the drug is not a Do Not Use product, information on adverse effects, drug interactions and how to use the medication are included.
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Disease and Drug Family Information

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  • Hormone Replacement Therapy [hide all summaries]
    In 1991, the Health Research Group published the Women’s Health Alert. The largest chapter in the book was on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). By then, the evidence was clear that these drugs caused breast cancer, and very serious doubts had been raised about their ability to protect against heart disease. The first sentence in this chapter began: Female replacement hormones may someday be remembered as the most recklessly prescribed and dangerous drugs of this century.
  • Osteoporosis [hide all summaries]
    Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone mass and weakening of bone architecture that increases the susceptibility of bone to fracture. Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being broken down and resynthesized at 1 to 2 million microscopic sites in the adult skeleton. Osteoporosis occurs when the rate of breakdown is faster than the rate of resynthesis. The history of the treatment or prevention of osteoporosis is strewn with drugs such as estrogens—discussed below—and others in this chapter with marginal effectiveness or with risks clearly outweighing the benefits.

Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

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  • A Guide to Treatments for Osteoporosis [hide all summaries]
    (May 2015)
    Drug treatment can prevent broken bones in some women with osteoporosis. But drugs are not always necessary and can cause harmful side effects, especially when treatment lasts longer than needed. Read this article to learn who should take osteoporosis drugs, which drugs to take and for how long.
  • Do Not Use MIACALCIN Nasal Spray or Other Calcitonin-Containing Drugs for Osteoporosis [hide all summaries]
    (May 2014)
    Learn about the dangers of using calcitonin-containing drugs for treatment of osteoporosis and find out why the Food and Drug Administration, in contrast to regulators in Canada and Europe, has acted recklessly by failing to ban nasal calcitonin products.
  • Are European Women Different From U.S. Women? [hide all summaries]
    (April 2013)
    Last summer, the European equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration told Europeans not to use a particular drug for osteoporosis. Learn about this drug, which has been used by more than 100,000 U.S. women since then despite evidence of increased cancer risk.
  • Calcitonin (CALCIMAR, MIACALIN) for Osteoporosis - Value Uncertain After 30 Years [hide all summaries]
    (May 2002)
    Physicians and pharmacists from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in the March 19, 2002, issue of the medical journal The Lancet reviewed the regulatory history of calcitonin (CALCIMAR, MIACALCIN) in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Over six years ago, in the December 1995 issue of Worst Pills, Best Pills News, we listed calcitonin nasal spray as a Do Not Use drug because there was no credible evidence that the drug reduced the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Additional Information from Public Citizen

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