OTTAWA, July 31, 2012 /CNW/ - Health Canada is informing Canadians that
it is assessing the possibility of an increased risk of cancer with
long-term use of the drug calcitonin.
Calcitonin is a prescription drug available in Canada as a nasal spray
used to treat osteoporosis (loss of calcium in bones) in postmenopausal
women. It is also available as a solution for injection used to treat
Paget's disease as well as severe hypercalcemia (high blood calcium).
Paget's disease is a chronic condition that causes abnormal bone
growth, while severe hypercalcemia is a medical emergency that can lead
to, for example, kidney failure, heart problems and coma. A list of
calcitonin products in Canada is provided below.
calcitonin nasal sprays should no longer be prescribed for the treatment
injectable calcitonin should be used to treat patients with Paget's
disease only when other treatments have not worked or are not
appropriate, and treatment should normally be limited to three months
injectable calcitonin should only be used only for hypercalcemia caused
Health Canada is currently reviewing all available information to
determine appropriate action in Canada. No conclusions or
recommendations have been made at this time with respect to calcitonin
use in Canada. Health Canada will take the EMA's recommendations into
consideration as part of its review. New safety information will be
communicated to Canadian prescribers and patients as soon as possible,
once the review is complete.
No reports of cancer associated with calcitonin use have been reported
to Health Canada since the drug was first authorized in Canada nearly
30 years ago, in 1983.
Patients who are taking a calcitonin medicine who have questions should
speak to their health care professional before they consider stopping
their calcitonin treatment. There are other medications authorized in
Canada for the treatment of osteoporosis, Paget's disease and
How to report side effects to health products to Health Canada
To report suspected side effects to these or other health products,
please contact Health Canada's Canada Vigilance Program toll-free at
1-866-234-2345, or visit MedEffect Canada for more information on how to report.