- The objectives were to determine the efficacy and safety of nasal salmon calcitonin 200 IU daily in the prevention of corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. A minimized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was carried out in corticosteroid-treated patients with polymyalgia rheumatica. The setting was a tertiary care university-affiliated hospital and a total of 31 patients were enrolled. The primary outcome measure was the percentage change in bone mineral density of the lumbar spine in the two treatment groups from baseline to 1 yr of follow-up. The mean +/- S.D. bone mineral density of the lumbar spine in the calcitonin-treated group decreased by 1.29 +/- 6.76% and in the placebo group by 4.95 +/- 3.50% after 12 months. The observed difference of 3.65 +/- 2.10% between groups is statistically significant (P < 0.05). Nasal salmon calcitonin prevented loss of bone in the lumbar spine as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.