Cochrane Summaries

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Calcitonin used to treat metastatic bone pain

Martinez-Zapata MJ, Roqué i Figuls M, Alonso-Coello P, Roman Y, Català E
Published Online: 
15 August 2012

The limited evidence currently available does not support the use of calcitonin to control pain arising from bone metastases. People who have cancer which has spread to their bones and the nerves adjacent to the bones often suffer severe pain. There are several treatments to help relieve this pain: radiotherapy, analgesic (pain-relieving) drugs such as opioids and bone-modulating drugs such as bisphosphonates and calcitonin. Calcitonin has the potential to relieve pain and maintain bone strength, thus reducing the risk of bone fractures. This review looked at the effectiveness of calcitonin for controlling pain from bone metastases. However, few studies were found and the evidence currently available does not support its use for patients suffering from bone pain. Until new studies provide additional information on this treatment, other therapeutic approaches should be considered.