What is calcitriol?

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Generic Name: Calcitriol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is calcitriol used for?

Calcitriol is a vitamin D metabolite (vitamin D3), used for treating:

  • Hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid glands) and metabolic bone disease in people with chronic kidney failure and are not receiving dialysis.
  • Calcium deficiency (hypocalcemia) and metabolic bone disease in people who are receiving dialysis or in people with hypoparathyroidism (underactive parathyroid glands) caused by surgery, disease, or other conditions.

Calcitriol may also be used for other indications not listed in calcitriol guide.

How should I take calcitriol?

Swallow the capsules whole with a little water, usually once a day or once every other day in the morning with or without food.

It. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.

Calcitriol may help to control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take calcitriol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking calcitriol without talking to your doctor.

How do I store calcitriol?

Calcitriol is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store calcitriol in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of calcitriol that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush calcitriol down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using calcitriol?

Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you:

  • Are allergic to calcitriol, other forms of vitamin D such as calcifediol (Calderol), dihydrotachysterol (Hytakerol, DHT), doxercalciferol (Hectorol), ergocalciferol (Drisdol, Calciferol), paricalcitol (Zemplar) or any other medications or vitamins.
  • Have recently had surgery or are unable to move around for any reason.
  • Have or have ever had kidney or liver disease.
  • Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
  • Breast-feeding.
  • Are having surgery, including dental surgery.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • Other medicines containing vitamin D.
  • Diuretics, also called ‘water tablets’ (used to treat high blood pressure). These include bendroflumethiazide, chlortalidone and indapamide.
  • Medicines like digoxin or digitoxin (used to treat heart disease).
  • Medicines containing magnesium, such as antacids (used to treat indigestion).
  • Steroid medicines, such as hydrocortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone.
  • Cholestyramine, or other ‘ion-exchange resins’ (used to treat high levels of cholesterol in your blood).
  • Phosphate (the doctor may need to monitor phosphate levels in your blood).

Is it safe to take calcitriol during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using calcitriol during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking calcitriol. Calcitriol is pregnancy risk category C  according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown.

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of calcitriol?

Talk to your doctor if after taking calcitriol,  you have experienced:

  • Signs of high levels of calcium in your blood containing loss of appetite, weight loss, feeling sick, being sick, headache and feeling sluggish, drowsy or weak, high temperature (fever), feeling thirsty, dehydration, passing more water than normal, wetting the bed, constipation, stomach pain, blockage of the bowel and an uneven heart beat.
  • Changes in how well your kidney is working (shown by blood tests).

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with calcitriol?

Calcitriol may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

  • Other medicines containing vitamin D.
  • Diuretics, including bendroflumethiazide, chlortalidone and indapamide.
  • Digoxin or digitoxin (used to treat heart disease).
  • Medicines containing magnesium, such as antacids (used to treat indigestion).
  • Steroid medicines, such as hydrocortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone.
  • Cholestyramine, or other “ion-exchange resins”.

Does food or alcohol interact with calcitriol?

Calcitriol may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with calcitriol?

Calcitriol may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using calcitriol.

What is the dose of calcitriol for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Hypocalcemia

  • Oral
  • initial dose: 0.25 mcg orally once a day.
  • maintenance dose: May increase by 0.25 mcg/dose at 4 to 8 week intervals.
  • Parenteral
  • initial dose: 0.5 mcg iv 3 times a week.
  • maintenance dose: may increase by 0.25 to 0.5 mcg/dose at 2 to 4 week intervals.

Usual Adult Dose for Renal Osteodystrophy

  • Oral
  • initial dose: 0.25 mcg orally once a day.
  • maintenance dose: May increase by 0.25 mcg/dose at 4 to 8 week intervals.
  • Parenteral
  • initial dose: 0.5 mcg iv 3 times a week.
  • maintenance dose: may increase by 0.25 to 0.5 mcg/dose at 2 to 4 week intervals.

Usual Adult Dose for Hypoparathyroidism

  • initial dose: 0.25 mcg orally once a day in the morning.
  • maintenance dose: may increase by 0.25 mcg/dose at 2 to 4 week intervals. most patients respond to 0.25 to 2 mcg once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Rickets

  • 1 mcg orally once a day

Usual Adult Dose for Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

  • predialysis patients: 0.25 mcg orally once a day in the morning
  • dialysis patients: 0.25 mcg orally once a day in the morning. increase dose, if needed, by 0.25 mcg/dose at 2 to 4 week intervals. Alternatively, 0.5 to 4 mcg IV may be administered three times per week at the end of each dialysis.

What is the dose of calcitriol for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypoparathyroidism

  • less than 1 year: 0.04 to 0.08 mcg/kg orally once a day.
  • 1 to 5 years: 0.25 to 0.75 mcg orally once daily. may increase by 0.25 mcg/dose at 2 to 4 week intervals.
  • greater than or equal to 6 years: 0.5 to 2 mcg. may increase by 0.25 mcg/dose at 2 to 4 week intervals.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Rickets

  • Vitamin D dependent rickets: 1 mcg orally once a day.
  • Vitamin D resistant rickets (familial hypophosphatemia):
  • initial: 0.015 to 0.02 mcg/kg orally once daily.
  • maintenance: 0.03 to 0.06 mcg/kg orally once daily; maximum dose: 2 mcg once daily.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypocalcemia

  • Hypocalcemia secondary to hypoparathyroidism:
  • neonates: 1 mcg orally once daily for the first 5 days of life, or 0.02 to 0.06 mcg/kg/day.
  • Hypocalcemic tetany:
  • neonates: 0.05 mcg/kg IV once daily for 5 to 12 days or 0.25 mcg orally once daily followed by 0.01 to 0.10 mcg/kg/day divided in 2 doses daily
    (maximum daily dose: 2 mcg).

Children and Adolescents: CKD Stages 2 to 4:

  • Less than 10 kg: 0.05 mcg orally every other day.
  • 10 to 20 kg: 0.1 to 0.15 mcg orally daily.
  • Greater than 20 kg: 0.25 mcg orally daily.

Children and Adolescents with CKD Stage 5:

  • Less than 12 years: not exceed 65 mg(2)/dL.
  • Adolescents: 55 mg/dL.

How is calcitriol available?

Calcitriol is available in the following dosage forms and strengths: 0.25mcg and 0.5mcg capsules.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of calcitriol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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