Compare Prolia vs. calcitonin

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



Prevents bone loss. Prolia (Denosumab) is an effective and convenient treatment for osteoporosis if other options haven’t worked or aren’t appropriate for you. There’re risks of some rare side effects, so make sure you're following up with your doctor regularly.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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Reviews for Prolia
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Have you used Miacalcin (calcitonin)?
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Side effects
  • Pain in extremity 1%
  • Hypercholesterolemia 1%
  • Ankle and leg swelling 1%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 1%
  • Sciatica 1%
More Prolia side effects »
  • Stuffy nose 5%
  • Back pain 3%
More calcitonin side effects »
How it works
Prolia (Denosumab) is a monoclonal antibody. It blocks a protein that sends signals to break down your bones, and therefore prevents bone loss.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
  • Taking steroids
  • Kidney problems
  • Not taking calcium supplements
  • Taking other medicines that can lower calcium blood levels
  • History of hypoparathyroidism (low levels of parathyroid hormone)
Detailed Prolia (denosumab) 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 real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

  • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
  • Prolia (Denosumab) is effective at preventing bone loss, making your bones stronger and lowering your chance of getting a fracture.
  • Only need to get an injection every 6 months, so you don’t have to remember to take something every day.
  • 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
  • Approved for women only after they’ve reached menopause. Don’t use this if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Can lower blood calcium levels. You might need to take calcium supplements to prevent this.
  • Not available as a generic.
  • 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
  • Remember to get your shot every 6 months. Write it down on your calendar.
  • If your doctor also told you to take calcium and vitamin D, remember to take them as well. They'll work with Prolia (Denosumab) to help protect your bones.
  • Can cause skin irritation, joint pain, limb pain, and back pain.
  • Let your doctor know if you start getting more infections.
  • Let your dentist know that you’re taking Prolia (Denosumab) since it can cause problems in the jaw bone after dental procedures.
  • 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 ProliaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Prolia (denosumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about calcitoninSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Miacalcin (calcitonin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it