Studies show that there has been an increased risk of cancer associated with the long-term use of intra-nasal calcitonin sprays (the only formulation of calcitonin licensed for osteoporosis). The European Committee on Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has, therefore, recommended that the intra-nasal calcitonin sprays be withdrawn from the European pharmaceutical market.
There are two intra-nasal calcitonin sprays in the U.S. currently. One is called Miacalcin, which is developed by Novartis and generic manufacturers, and the second is developed by Upsher-Smith/Unigene and is still under patent. These brands of intra-nasal calcitonin sprays are available in the U.S., and the FDA has not withdrawn these sprays – which have been shown to increase the likelihood of cancer with long-term use. However, the reported increased risk of cancer is not shown to be one of the side-effects of calcitonin on WebMD’s website or on the drug labels.
Canada has acknowledge Europe’s decision to remove the intra-nasal calcitonin spray from its market, and is currently assessing the situation and trying to figure out whether or not to follow suit.
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