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Calcitonin

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Overview

  • Calcitonin is a synthetically prepared hormone that is normally found in the body and is secreted by the thyroid gland. This drug is used when the natural calcitonin is not sufficient to treat high blood calcium levels.
  • This drug acts on bones to inhibit the normal bone cells from reabsorbing bone.
  • Calcitonin also acts to reduce absorption of calcium and electrolytes from the kidneys and promotes the excretion of these minerals and electrolytes.
  • The result of these effects is a reduction in calcium levels in the body.
  • Calcitonin must be used with caution. Overuse can lead to serious complications of low blood calcium including tremors, seizures and even death.
  • Calcitonin is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names or Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Calcimar® (Rhone-Poulenc Rorer), Miacalcin® (Sandoz), Salmonine® (Lennod) and Oseocalcin® (Arcoloa)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Calcitonin

  • Calcitonin is used to control excessively high levels of calcium in the blood. This can occur as a result of certain cancers or vitamin D toxicity.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, calcitonin can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Calcitonin should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Calcitonin must be used with caution in young animals. They are about 100 times more sensitive to the drug than adults.
  • Excessive use of this drug can result in signs of low blood calcium, including muscle tremors and seizures.
  • Calcitonin may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with calcitonin.
  • The most common side effects include vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
  • In some animals, the injection may be painful.

    How Calcitonin is Supplied

  • Calcitonin is available in 200 IU/ml concentration in 2 ml vials.
  • In addition to an injectable form, calcitonin is also available as a nasal spray.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Calcitonin is administered at a dose of 2 to 3 units per pound (4 to 6 IU/kg) subcutaneously two to three times per day.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects.




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