Health

Nasal spray for osteoporosis to be pulled

Health Canada says a nasal spray for treating osteoporosis that contains the drug calcitonin will be taken off the market on October 1 due to an increased risk of cancer.

Cancer risk linked with long-term use of spray containing drug calcitonin

Calcitonin injectable products will continue to be authorized for sale because their benefits are believed to outweigh their risks when used as directed. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Health Canada says a nasal spray for treating osteoporosis that contains the drug calcitonin will be taken off the market on October 1 due to an increased risk of cancer.

A safety review by the federal department found a slightly elevated risk of cancer linked with prolonged use of calcitonin products.

Calcitonin is used as a nasal spray to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and as an injection to treat the bone disorder Paget's disease and high blood calcium.

Health Canada concluded the cancer risk outweighs the benefit of calcitonin nasal sprays in treating osteoporosis.

Consumers who are using a calcitonin nasal spray should speak to their health-care practitioner about switching to an alternative treatment.

New cancer risk warning

Calcitonin injectable products will continue to be authorized for sale because their benefits are believed to outweigh their risks when used as directed.

However, the injectable products will include a new warning about the cancer risk and patients will be advised to limit their use to the shortest time possible.

There are other authorized medications for the treatment of osteoporosis, Paget's disease and high blood calcium, known as hypercalcemia, Health Canada said.

Consumers are advised to speak to a pharmacist about how to safely dispose calcitonin nasal sprays, which include Miacalcin NS (Novartis), Sandoz Calcitonin NS and Apo-Calcitonin NS (Apotex Inc.).

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