Background Back pain is the most frequent symptom in osteoporosis.
Objectives The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of calcitonin on plasma beta-endorphin levels, pain and quality of life in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
Methods In our study, 100 IU salmon calcitonin with subcutaneous or placebo injection was given for 2 weeks and was continued with same dose of nasal spray or placebo for 3 months to postmenopausal women who had severe back pain due to osteoporosis. All patients took 1000 mg elementary Calcium per day. We investigated the effectiveness of calcitonin on plasma beta-endorphin levels, pain, and quality of life. There were thirty patients with a mean age of 58.17+5.36 years in the treatment group and twenty-six patients with a mean age of 58.77+5.15 years in the placebo group. Baseline plasma beta-endorphin levels were measured and repeated after two weeks and 3 months. Patients? pain was evaluated by visual analogue scale (VAS), and the modified face scale (MFS); and the quality of life was also assessed by Beck Depression Index (BDI) and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) at the end of the second week and the third month.
Results We found that the measurements of the plasma beta-endorphin level of the treatment group were significantly higher than those of the placebo group both at the end of the second week and the third month (p < 0.001). Visual analogue scale, MFS, BDI and NHP scores were improved at the end of the second week in both groups (p < 0.05). However, the improvement of these scores decreased in three months in the placebo group. They did not change in the placebo group at the end of the 3rd month statistically (p > 0.05).
Conclusion As a result, we suggest that calcitonin is a very strong analgesic agent via increasing the plasma beta-endorphin levels in postmenopausal osteoporosis and improves their physical activities and the quality of life due to decreasing back pain.
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