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a polypeptide hormone secreted by the parafollicular or C cells of the thyroid gland; it is involved in plasma calcium homeostasis and acts to decrease the rate of bone resorption. Preparations of calcitonin are called either calcitonin-human or calcitonin-salmon; the former is a synthetic polypeptide with the same sequence as that occurring naturally in humans, and the latter is either derived from salmon or is a synthetic polypeptide of the same sequence as that found in salmon. They are used in the treatment of severe hypercalcemia, paget's disease of bone, and postmenopausal osteoporosis. Called also thyrocalcitonin.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

calcitonin (salmon)

APO-Calcitonin, Calcimar, Caltine, Fortical, Miacalcic (UK), Miacalcin, Miacalcin Nasal Spray, Sandoz Calcitonin

Pharmacologic class: Hormone (calcium-lowering)

Therapeutic class: Hypocalcemic

Pregnancy risk category C


Directly affects bone, kidney, and GI tract. Decreases osteoclastic osteolysis in bone; also reduces mineral release and collagen breakdown in bone and promotes renal excretion of calcium. In pain relief, acts through prostaglandin inhibition, pain threshold modification, or beta-endorphin stimulation.


Injection: 0.5 mg/ml (human), 1 mg/ml (human), 200 international units/ml in 2-ml vials (salmon)

Nasal spray (salmon): 200 international units/actuation, metered nasal spray in 3.7 ml-bottle

Indications and dosages

Postmenopausal osteoporosis

Adults: Calcitonin (salmon)-100 international units/day I.M. or subcutaneously, or 200 international units/day intranasally with concurrent supplemental calcium and vitamin D

Paget's disease of bone (osteitis deformans)

Adults: Calcitonin (salmon)-Initially, 100 international units/day I.M. or subcutaneously; after titration, maintenance dosage is 50 to 100 international units daily or every other day (three times weekly). Calcitonin (human)-0.5 mg I.M. or subcutaneously daily, reduced to 0.25 mg daily.


Adults: Calcitonin (salmon)-4 international units/kg I.M. or subcutaneously q 12 hours; after 1 or 2 days, may increase to 8 international units/kg q 12 hours; after 2 more days, may increase further, if needed, to 8 international units q 6 hours.


• Hypersensitivity to drug or salmon

• Pregnancy or breastfeeding


Use cautiously in:

• renal insufficiency, pernicious anemia

• children.


Before salmon calcitonin therapy begins, perform skin test, if prescribed. Don't give drug if patient has positive reaction. Have epinephrine available.

• Bring nasal spray to room temperature before using.

• Give intranasal dose as one spray in one nostril daily; alternate nostrils every day.

• To minimize adverse effects, give at bedtime.

• Rotate injection sites to decrease inflammatory reactions.

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, weakness, dizziness, paresthesia

CV: chest pain

EENT: epistaxis, nasal irritation, rhinitis

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, epigastric pain or discomfort

GU: urinary frequency

Musculoskeletal: arthralgia, back pain

Respiratory: dyspnea

Skin: rash

Other: altered taste, allergic reactions including facial flushing, swelling, and anaphylaxis


Drug-drug. Previous use of bisphosphonates (alendronate, etidronate, pamidronate, risedronate): decreased response to calcitonin

Patient monitoring

• Monitor for adverse reactions during first few days of therapy.

• Assess alkaline phosphatase level and 24-hour urinary excretion of hydroxyproline.

• Check urine for casts.

• Monitor serum electrolyte and calcium levels.

Patient teaching

• Instruct patient to take drug before bedtime to lessen GI upset. Tell him to call prescriber if he can't maintain his usual diet because of GI upset.

• Inform patient using nasal spray that runny nose, sneezing, and nasal irritation may occur during first several days as he adjusts to spray.

• Instruct patient to bring nasal spray to room temperature before using.

• Advise patient to blow nose before using spray, to take intranasal dose as one spray in one nostril daily, and to alternate nostrils with each dose.

• Tell patient to discard unrefrigerated bottles of calcitonin (salmon) nasal spray after 30 days.

• Encourage patient to consume a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.

• As appropriate, review all other significant adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


A peptide hormone, of which eight forms in five species are known; composed of 32 amino acids and produced by the parathyroid, thyroid, and thymus glands; its action is opposite to that of parathyroid hormone in that calcitonin increases deposition of calcium and phosphate in bone and lowers the level of calcium in the blood; its level in the blood is increased by glucagon and by Ca2+ and thus opposes postprandial hypercalcemia.
Synonym(s): thyrocalcitonin
[calci- + G. tonos, stretching, + -in]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


A peptide hormone, secreted by the thyroid gland in humans or produced synthetically, that lowers plasma calcium and phosphate levels without augmenting calcium accretion and is used therapeutically to treat diseases such as osteoporosis. Also called thyrocalcitonin.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A gene on chromosome 11p15.2 that encodes peptide hormones calcitonin, calcitonin gene-related peptide and katacalcin, by tissue-specific alternative RNA splicing of gene transcripts and cleavage of inactive precursor peptides. Calcitonin regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism; calcitonin gene-related peptide is a vasodilator; katacalcin is a calcium-lowering peptide.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Thyrocalcitonin Physiology A 32 residue polypeptide–plasma levels 100 pg/mL hormone produced by the parafollicular or 'C'–ultimobranchial cells of the thyroid; calcitonin is rapidly secreted in response to ↑ plasma Ca2+, pentagastrin, glucagon, β-adrenergics, and alcohol; it is produced by several neoplasms, especially, medullary CA of thyroid–MCT, which may also be associated with other endocrine tumors ↑ in MCT, small cell of the lung, breast CA. See C cells.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A peptide hormone, of which eight forms are known; produced by the parathyroid, thyroid, and thymus glands; its action is opposite to that of parathyroid hormone in that calcitonin increases deposition of calcium and phosphate in bone and lowers the level of calcium in the blood.
[calci- + G. tonos, stretching, + -in]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Salcatonin or calcitonin (salmon), a hormone secreted by the THYROID gland, independently of the thyroid hormones, and concerned with the control of calcium levels in the blood. It acts on bone to interfere with the release of calcium. It is less important in calcium balance than the parathyroid glands. Used as a drug under the brand name Miacalcic.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


a polypeptide hormone secreted by both the THYROID and PARATHYROID glands that lowers the calcium content of the blood.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005


A hormone produced by the parafollicular cells (C cells) of the thyroid. The main function of the hormone is to regulate calcium levels in body serum.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A peptide hormone formed in parathyroid, thyroid, and thymus glands; increases deposition of calcium and phosphate in bone and lowers blood levels of calcium.
[calci- + G. tonos, stretching, + -in]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Russo, "Stimulation of the calcitonin gene-related peptide enhancer by mitogen-activated protein kinases and repression by an antimigraine drug in trigeminal ganglia neurons," Journal of Neuroscience, vol.
Tringali, "Lacosamide inhibits calcitonin gene-related peptide production and release at trigeminal level in the rat," European Journal of Pain, vol.
Characterization of the human calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor subtypes associated with receptor activity-modifying proteins.

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