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Side Effects
Serious

Fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, metallic taste in mouth, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, ringing in ears, muscle pains, joint pains, irritability. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

No common side effects are associated with calcitriol.
Less Common

No less-common side effects are associated with calcitriol.
Calcitriol


Drug Class:
Vitamin D analog

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Rocaltrol 0.25 mg
(Roche)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Capsules, oral solution

Why Prescribed
To treat abnormally low blood levels of calcium (hypocalcemia) in those with chronic kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis or who have other conditions resulting in low blood calcium, such as hypoparathyroidism (underactive parathyroid gland).

How It Works
Vitamin D must be modified by both the liver and kidneys before it is fully active. Calcitriol, a synthetic form of active vitamin D, promotes the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus in the body. This ensures that blood levels of these minerals are high enough to support the constant turnover of bone and to supply cells with the calcium needed to perform essential functions.

Range and Frequency
Frequent blood tests to measure levels of calcium and phosphorus are required when calcitriol is first taken to determine the proper dose. For hypocalcemia in dialysis patients: Adults and children age 6 and over start at 0.25 micrograms (mcg) once a day. Dose may be gradually increased every 4 to 8 weeks to no more than 1 mcg a day. Maintenance dose is usually 0.25 mcg every other day up to 1.25 mcg daily. Children ages 1 to 5: 0.25 to 2 mcg once a day. For hypoparathyroidism: Adults and children age 6 and over start at 0.25 mcg once a day. Dose may be gradually increased every 2 to 4 weeks to no more than 0.5 to 2 mcg a day. Children ages 1 to 5: 0.25 to 0.75 mcg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) once a day.

Onset of Effect
2 to 6 hours.

Duration of Action
3 to 5 days.

Dietary Advice
No special advice.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
The decision to stop taking the drug should be made by your doctor.

Prolonged Use
See your doctor regularly for tests and examinations.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol
Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.

Pregnancy
No problems have been reported with the recommended daily dose. However, during pregnancy calcitriol may cause problems in the unborn child when taken in excess of the recommended dosage, especially if the mother develops hypercalcemia (high blood levels of calcium). Before taking it, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Calcitriol may pass into breast milk; extreme caution is advised. Some experts recommend that the mother not nurse while taking calcitriol. Consult your doctor.

Infants and Children
Calcitriol is not recommended for use by children under the age of 1. Consult your doctor.

Overdose Symptoms
Symptoms are due to the resulting hypercalcemia. Early symptoms: Constipation (especially in children), diarrhea, dry mouth, increased thirst and frequency of urination, persistent headache, loss of appetite, metallic taste, nausea and vomiting, unusual fatigue. Advanced symptoms: Bone and muscle pain, irregular heartbeat, persistent itching, extreme drowsiness, mental changes.

What to Do
Call your doctor if such symptoms occur. If someone accidentally ingests an extremely large dose, seek medical assistance right away.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking antacids, cardiac glycosides, cholestyramine, colestipol, mineral oil, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, thiazide diuretics, other forms of vitamin D, or calcium.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have blood vessel disease, heart disease, hypercalcemia, hypervitaminosis D, hypoparathyroidism, kidney disease, hyperphosphatemia, or sarcoidosis.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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