Compare Forteo vs. calcitonin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.



Prevents bone loss. Forteo (Teriparatide) is a good second-choice medication to treat bone loss, but it's only available as an injectable.Treats high calcium levels and prevents bone loss. Miacalcin (calcitonin) can be used for osteoporosis, but it is not a first choice because there are more effective medications available.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Forteo (teriparatide)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Miacalcin (calcitonin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
  • Rhinitis 1%
  • Arthralgia 2%
  • Asthenia 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Dizziness 3%
  • Headache 1%
  • Any side effect 1%
  • Pharyngitis 1%
More Forteo side effects »
  • Stuffy nose 5%
  • Back pain 3%
More calcitonin side effects »
How it works
Forteo (Teriparatide) works by stimulating cells that build up and strengthen your bones.Miacalcin (calcitonin) blocks the cells that break down bone. This makes stronger bones and lowers calcium levels in the blood.
Type of medication
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
  • Injection
Used for
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Paget's bone disease
  • Young people with open epiphyses
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • History of kidney stones
Detailed Forteo (teriparatide) risks & warnings »
  • Allergy to fish
  • Seizure history
  • Low calcium in blood
  • Age 65 and above
  • History of cancer
Detailed Miacalcin (calcitonin) risks & warnings »

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Kidneys and liver
  • Forteo (Teriparatide) can cause kidney stones, especially if you have high calcium levels in your urine. If kidney stones are suspected, your doctor can measure the amount of calcium in your urine to see if you are at risk. Be careful using this medication if you have a history of kidney stones.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Upsides and benefits
  • If you're unable to use bisphosphonates or are still having fractures despite being on other medications, Forteo (Teriparatide) can be a good alternative.
  • You can start using Forteo (Teriparatide) as soon as you stop using bisphosphonates.
  • Using the nasal spray causes fewer side effects than the injectable version.
  • Can help with bone pain if you've had a recent fracture.
  • Available in generic.
Downsides and risks
  • Only available as a brand medication, so it can be expensive.
  • You have to inject this every day, so it may not be a good option if you don't like needles.
  • Shouldn't take this longer than 18 to 24 months since it can increase the risk of bone cancers.
  • Miacalcin (calcitonin) is not as effective as other medications used to stop bone loss or lower calcium levels.
  • You're at a higher risk for certain cancers while taking Miacalcin (calcitonin).
  • If you're allergic to fish, you might also be allergic to Miacalcin (calcitonin).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • You should be sitting or lying down when you inject Forteo (Teriparatide) since it can make you dizzy.
  • You should inject Forteo (Teriparatide) under the skin in either your thigh or stomach.
  • Make sure the liquid in the vial of Forteo (Teriparatide) is clear and colorless before you inject it. Don't use it if it looks cloudy, colored, or if you see particles inside.
  • New, unopened nasal spray bottles should be stored in the refrigerator until you use them. Once they are opened, they should be stored at room temperature for up to 35 days.
  • Allow nasal spray bottle to reach room temperature before use. Prime before first use by spraying in the air 5 times until full spray is produced.
  • Toss spray bottle after 30 doses. It may not feel empty yet, but it won't deliver the correct dose anymore.
  • Follow the directions your doctor or pharmacist tells you so you get the full dose every time.
  • Continue to take your calcium or vitamin D.
  • The nasal spray is only used for weak bones. Forms of the drug that are injected in the skin or muscles are used for other conditions such as high calcium in the blood, Paget's disease, and weak bones.
Learn more
More about ForteoSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Forteo (teriparatide)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about calcitoninSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Miacalcin (calcitonin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it