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What is Calcitonin Nasal Spray?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Calcitonin nasal spray is a medication used to treat osteoporosis, which is loss of bone mass that leaves bones more susceptible to fractures. This medication, also known as calcitonin salmon, makes use of a hormone found in salmon, called calcitonin. The hormone increases the density of bones and helps prevent loss of bone mass. It is prescribed only for women who are at least five years past menopause as an alternative to estrogen products.

This medication is administered nasally as a spray product. A doctor will typically prescribe just one spray daily. The patient should alternate nostrils every day.

Calcitonin nasal spray must first be assembled before use. Patients should locate the rubber stopper on the bottle and remove it, and then do the same to the bottom plastic cap on the spray unit. The spray unit should be inserted into the bottle and tightened by twisting it. Patients may then remove the plastic cover from the top of the spray unit. To prime the pump, the medicine must first reach room temperature, as unopened medication is stored in the refrigerator. Afterward, the bottle must be held upright and the two “arms” of the pump must be pressed until a full spray emerges.

Some people may find it helpful to gently blow their noses before using the nasal spray, however they should not do so for several minutes following the dosage. The calcitonin nasal spray must be used while the patient's head is upright. Patients should place the nozzle in a nostril and press the pump. Once used, the nasal spray may be stored at room temperature.

There are some side effects associated with calcitonin nasal spray, which should be reported to the doctor if they become bothersome. Patients may experience a nosebleed, a runny nose, or other nose problems, such as crusting, dryness, or swelling. Sinus pain, flushing, and an upset stomach may also occur. Other people may develop back or joint pain.

Serious side effects from calcitonin nasal spray are typically uncommon, however patients should get medical help immediately if they experience them. They may include skin rash, hives, and itching. Some patients may experience problems breathing or swallowing, as well as swelling of the throat or tongue. To ensure serious side effects do not develop, the doctor will likely check the patient's airways regularly.

Before using calcitonin nasal spray, patients should disclose their other medical conditions, as well as other medications and supplements they take. Some people may be unable to use it, such as those with nasal deformities, chronic sinus infections, or those who have certain allergies. In addition, some people may need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements while using calcitonin nasal spray. As of 2011, it is unknown whether this drug may harm an unborn or nursing baby.

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