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What is calcitonin and how is it used?

Calcitonin is used as a short-term treatment (for 2–4 weeks) to help prevent bone loss if you're immobilised following an osteoporotic fracture.

It may be given by injection:

  • under the skin (subcutaneous injection)
  • into a muscle (intramuscular injection).

In the UK, calcitonin is no longer available as a nasal spray for the long-term treatment of osteoporosis.

What are the possible risks and side-effects of calcitonin?

Possible side-effects include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • flushing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • taste disturbance.


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