Canada assessing calcitonin cancer risks

July 31, 2012 at 3:32 PM
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OTTAWA, July 31 (UPI) -- Canada's federal health agency is investigating European research that suggests the drug calcitonin, used to treat osteoporosis, could be a carcinogen.

In a release Tuesday, Health Canada said data from the European Medicines Agency was being analyzed to determine if long-term use of the drug was associated with eventual cancers.

In Canada, the drug has been prescribed since 1983, principally as a treatment for post-menopausal women to combat osteoporosis, a weakening of bone mass.

It's also a standard treatment for Paget's disease, which causes abnormal bone growth, as well as hypercalcemia, or high blood calcium, the agency said.

While no reports of cancer associated with calcitonin use have been reported to Health Canada, the agency said it was reviewing international data on possibly-related kidney failure, heart problems and coma.

The department didn't recall or ban the prescription of calcitonin, but it recommended people using it to consult with their doctors about alternate drugs.

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