U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006-.

Cover of Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®)

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet].

Show details


Last Revision: August 16, 2021.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

CASRN: 21215-62-3

image 316539055 in the ncbi pubchem database

Drug Levels and Effects

Summary of Use during Lactation

Little information is available on the clinical use of calcitonin during breastfeeding; however, calcitonin is a normal component of human milk where may play a role in development of enteric neurons in the breastfed infant.[1-3] Because it is a large peptide, absorption by the infant is unlikely because it is probably destroyed in the infant's gastrointestinal tract. If calcitonin is required by the mother, it is not a necessarily reason to discontinue breastfeeding calcitonin therapy is sometimes used to treat symptomatic postpartum osteoporosis, which is often treated in part by stopping lactation to reduce calcium loss.[4,5] There is no evidence that exogenous calcitonin decreases serum prolactin or lactation in nursing mothers.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

A woman with discoid lupus was taking subcutaneous calcitonin 0.5 mL every other day, azathioprine 100 mg daily, warfarin 2.5 mg every 2 days, prednisone 10 mg daily, calcitriol 0.25 mcg every 2 days, acetaminophen 650 mg twice daily, and calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. She was specifically evaluated for the safety of azathioprine during lactation, but continued to nurse for 12 months. Infant follow-up at 15 months of age found normal growth and development.[6]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Calcitonin products contain a warning that it should be avoided in nursing mothers because of animal data indicating that calcitonin can lower serum prolactin. The only human data consist of small studies performed in men and nonlactating w omen, some with normal and some with elevated serum prolactin. Several of the studies found a decrease in serum prolactin after calcitonin infusion.[7-10] Another small study found that IV infusion of human calcitonin did not lower serum prolactin in healthy volunteers who had normal serum prolactin at baseline.[11] The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.


Koldovský O. Hormones in milk. Vitam Horm. 1995;50:77–149. [PubMed: 7709605]
Bucht E, Telenius-Berg M, Lundell G, et al. Immunoextracted calcitonin in milk and plasma from totally thyroidectomized women. Evidence of monomeric calcitonin in plasma during pregnancy and lactation. Acta Endocrinol (Copenh). 1986;113:529–35. [PubMed: 3788423]
Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: Nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60:49–74. [PMC free article: PMC3586783] [PubMed: 23178060]
Segal E, Hochberg I, Weisman Y, et al. Severe postpartum osteoporosis with increased PTHrP during lactation in a patient after total thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy. Osteoporos Int. 2011;22:2907–11. [PubMed: 21243337]
Michalakis K, Peitsidis P, Ilias I. Pregnancy- and lactation-associated osteoporosis: A narrative mini-review. Endocr Regul. 2011;45:43–7. [PubMed: 21314210]
Moretti ME, Verjee Z, Ito S, et al. Breast-feeding during maternal use of azathioprine. Ann Pharmacother. 2006;40:2269–72. [PubMed: 17132809]
Carman JS, Wyatt RJ. Reduction of serum-prolactin after subcutaneous salmon calcitonin. Lancet 1977;1:1267-8. PMID: 68374. [PubMed: 68374]
Isaac R, Merceron R, Caillens G, et al. Effects of calcitonin on basal and thyrotropin-releasing hormone-stimulated prolactin secretion in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1980;50:1011–5. [PubMed: 6768762]
Ziliotto D, Luisetto G, Heynen G, et al. Decrease in serum prolactin levels after acute intravenous injection of salmon calcitonin in normal subjects. Horm Metab Res. 1981;13:64–7. [CrossRef]
Žofková I, Nedvídková J. Hypercalcaemia and calcitonin inhibit prolactin secretion. Exp Clin Endocrinol. 1984;84:294–8. [PubMed: 6441727]
Stevenson JC, Evans IM, Colston KW, et al. Serum-prolactin after subcutaneous human calcitonin. Lancet 1977;2:711-2. PMID: 71517. [PubMed: 71517]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number

9007-12-9; 47931-85-1; 21215-62-3

Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Bone Density Conservation Agents


Peptide Hormones

Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Copyright Notice

Attribution Statement: LactMed is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Bookshelf ID: NBK500709PMID: 29999768


Related information

Similar articles in PubMed

  • Review Sincalide.[Drugs and Lactation Database (...]
    Review Sincalide.
    . Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®). 2006
  • Review Exenatide.[Drugs and Lactation Database (...]
    Review Exenatide.
    . Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®). 2006
  • Review Pamidronate.[Drugs and Lactation Database (...]
    Review Pamidronate.
    . Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®). 2006
  • Review Oxaprozin.[Drugs and Lactation Database (...]
    Review Oxaprozin.
    . Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®). 2006
  • Review Imiglucerase.[Drugs and Lactation Database (...]
    Review Imiglucerase.
    . Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®). 2006
See reviews...See all...

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...