[en] A group (150) of healthy women, who had been menopausal for less than 5 years and who had never received any form of treatment to prevent bone loss were entered into a randomized, controlled study comprising three arms. They were randomly allocated to the double-blind administration of five suppositories per week containing either 100 IU of salmon calcitonin or a placebo, or to a group receiving a suppository containing 200 IU of salmon calcitonin three times per week. All women received 500 mg/day of calcium supplementation. After 12 months, bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine, measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, decreased significantly (P < 0.01) in the placebo group by 3.1% (SD: 3.6%) but did not change in the two calcitonin groups [+1.3% (3.5%) with 100 IU/day and +2.3% (4.0%) with 200 IU 3/week]. The differences in response between the placebo group and the two calcitonin groups were significant (P < 0.05), but the difference between the two regimens of calcitonin administration was not. No differences appeared among the three groups for the response at the level of the hip. Evolution of biochemical markers reflecting bone turnover did not differ significantly among groups. Nearly 40% of the women withdrew prematurely because of local (rectal or intestinal) intolerance to repetitive suppositories, with a nonsignificantly different frequency in the placebo or calcitonin groups. We conclude that rectal calcitonin might be an interesting preventive approach against trabecular postmenopausal bone loss but that long-term acceptability of suppositories should be evaluated in view of each patient's sensibility or cultural background.