The clinical and metabolic effects of porcine calcitonin were assessed in six patients with Paget's disease and two patients with osteoporosis under metabolic balance conditions. The administration of calcitonin for 4-17 wk resulted in an amelioration of the clinical phenomena associated with Paget's disease, including bone pain, increased skeletal vascularity, congestive heart failure, and neurologic deficits secondary to skeletal impingement. The major metabolic effects of calcitonin in Paget's disease included the induction of positive calcium balance of +50 to +240 mg/day, reduction in hyperphosphatasia and hydroxyprolinuria of 15 to 60%, and a deceleration of radiocalcium turnover by 12 to 46%. Natriuresis, phosphaturia, and reduced urinary calcium excretion were observed, whereas sustained hypocalcemia and hypophosphatemia did not occur. The administration of porcine calcitonin was not associated with adverse objective or subjective reactions, toxic effects, or allergic phenomena. There was no evidence of antibody formation or loss of therapeutic potency. Although the response of individual patients with Paget's disease varied widely, the data indicate that calcitonin, presumably through its skeletal anti-resorptive action, is able to reduce skeletal turnover and volume in Paget's disease, and thereby improve the associated clinical and metabolic abnormalities. Long term therapeutic studies in progress suggest that prolonged periods of control of the generalized condition may be feasible.
Florence Shai, Richard K. Baker, Stanley Wallach